SRINAGAR: Breaching the age old taboo and stigma associated with menstruation in rural pockets, a group of women Self Help Group is manufacturing and distributing sanitary napkins under a NABARD aided project in Narupora village of Kokernag in South Kashmir.
Alkaria SHG, popular for its revolutionary initiative in the area, has been sensitizing women and creating awareness regarding the menstrual hygiene and its significance for living a healthy life. This move is part of the “My Pad My Right”, a PAN India initiative, launched by the NAB Foundation to promote menstrual hygiene awareness and entrepreneurship among women in rural areas.
Apart from promotion of menstrual hygiene, the manufacturing and sale of sanitary napkins has become a source of livelihood for many women associated with this SHG and other SHGs in the cluster.
Ridwana Akhtar, President of the SHG, said that she and her group members have taken a pledge to create awareness regarding menstrual hygiene and provide easily and affordable available options of hygiene to women. Akhtar’s group is engaged in manufacturing sanitary napkins, educate and aware people about menstrual hygiene and earn a decent living.
Leading from the front, she says she will continue the mission by involving more and more females of adjacent villages in her noble venture.
Notably, Alkaria SHG was formally granted the first-ever Sanitary Pad Manufacturing Unit from NAB Foundation as part of efforts to promote menstrual hygiene awareness and entrepreneurship among women in rural areas by NABARD’
Akhtar says she is grateful to NABARD for giving her group an opportunity to take up such a dignified project in Anantnag district. The Alkaria SHG will manufacture the sanitary pads and distribute them among their members, who will then sell them to others and earn a living – a step towards women empowerment, an official said.
Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, Dr Basharat Qayoom, who was present on the launching ceremony of the unit of the Self Help group said there can’t be a greater step towards women’s empowerment than the SHGs producing and marketing their own products.
The semi-automatic unit with the production capacity of 600-800 pads per day will ensure adequate stock of pads is available for distribution to nearby villages.
Periods, which were rarely discussed among the rural families and were considered a taboo in society, are now discussed by SHGs in the village. “Overwhelming presence of women participants in the inaugural programme reflects their raised level of awareness regarding this social taboo,” the DC said. He said that the pads that will be manufactured by the SHG will be marketed throughout the district and the concept of establishing this kind of processing unit will be replicated throughout the district.