Project - Kanya : Sanitary Napkin Machine
An African proverb states “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” With a more educated female population, the literacy rate of the entire country will steadily increase because women are more likely to teach their children and their peers than men. A higher literacy rate leads to an increase in human capital, higher GDP, and higher standard of living.
In rural schools in India, menstrual hygiene education is often avoided because of the societal customs, often implemented by families, to never speak of the subject. While most people know that menses is a natural part of a woman’s body, the girls in this villages still have no idea what menses is or why it happens, they only see it as a time where they must end their schooling to stay home and work with the family because they are no longer pure enough to be a part of society.
UNICEF reports that “in countries where menstrual hygiene is taboo, girls in puberty are typically absent for 20% of the school year”. Most girls drop out at around 11 to 12-years-old, and miss school not simply because they fear being teased by their classmates if they show stains from their period, but also because they are not educated about their periods, and their need for safe and clean facilities is not prioritized.
In rural India there are plenty of manpower and agricultural resources. Aakar is a hybrid social enterprise that enables women to produce and distribute affordable, high-quality, ~100% compostable sanitary napkins within their communities while simultaneously raising awareness and sensitization of menstrual hygiene management. Part of the profit generated by the social venture will be used to provide free sanitary napkins for all the girls in school, making a sustainable model with the following benefits:
- Women empowerment
- Employment generation
- Preventing girl child school dropout
- Poverty alleviation
- Improving sanitation
The plan is to empower women in the village community where the production machine will be installed, by promoting ownership of the machine by a group of entrepreneurial women. Collectively, these women and the community will contribute the equivalent of Rs 70,000 and a shed in exchange for ownership of the machine as a business. In addition, the women or the community will contribute a plot of land on which to build a shed with a door and lock, to house the production machine and inventory of the raw material and output of sanitary napkins.
The social venture will be owned by the women in the community which will enhance their empowerment. It will also generate employment for 15 women alleviating poverty in those families. A total of Rs 77,000 per month will be paid to self employed small business women workers.
Using the profit made from a sales commission of Rs. 5/ packet, we will donate sanitary napkins for the school girls in the Burgula village which will lead to a 25% decrease in the dropout rate of girls due to menstruation.
To donate for Kanya Project on WHEELS Website - Click here.