Startup Teaches Menstrual Hygiene With Cheap Sanitary Pads
A big way that low-cost sanitary napkin provider, Saral Designs, distributes its products is through door-to-door sales. The company has identified and trained one woman per village, in around 60 villages in Maharashtra, on how to educate women on menstrual hygiene. These ‘Sanginis’ go door to door talking to women about periods, and also to stock Aisha pads in their homes.
A significant part of the company’s vision is educating women on menstrual hygiene. To that end, it partners with local NGOs who can speak about menstrual hygiene in the communities that they engage with. The company has developed educational games and content which can be shared with participants that the NGO works with.
The one-year-old company’s founder Suhani Mohan told SheThePeople.TV that a meeting with Anshu Gupta, the founder of non-profit Goonj, made her realise how difficult it is for rural women to buy sanitary napkins.
She said she was struck by how expensive and inaccessible sanitary napkins were for rural women. She said that absence of menstrual protection has led to many women contracting reproductive tract infections. She left her investment banking job soon after, and started the company.
Saral Design manufactures its ‘Aisha’ pads in a de-centralised manner, and each pad costs only Rs 4. Mohan tells us that the company focuses on reducing the price of the product without compromising on quality.
They have also developed Suvidha — a sanitary napkin vending machine which can be installed in public toilets, schools and factories. Saral Designs wants to make pads more accessible in ‘difficult’ areas such as urban slums and villages. The product is also available via e-commerce and in medical and retail shops.
“It is important to develop a voice from within the community, challenging their assumptions that harm their health and confidence, while not being condescending about it,” Mohan writes in the Logical Indian.
The company is always looking for volunteers who can offer their time to conduct sessions in schools and communities, participate through crowdfunding and connect the company to local NGOs.