Menstrual hygiene in India is a big concern now. Existing sanitary pads consist of three layers with thin plastic at the bottom, cotton or pine pulp in the middle, and non-woven fabric in the top. Due to the synthetic nature of the non-woven fabric and use of fertilisers and pesticides on cotton, existing sanitary pads lead to various menstrual conditions and diseases like ovarian cancer, hormonal dysfunction, thyroid condition, etc.
Moreover, due to the lack of reusability, these sanitary pads are often disposed of without biodegradable treatment leading to environmental hazard. There are social taboo and ignorance associated with the meaning and essence of menstruation all together.
For changing the current scenario and increasing the level of awareness for menstrual hygiene, we have developed reusable and biodegradable hemp sanitary pads in line with the Swachha Bharat Abhiyan initiative from the Government of India. These pads are reusable which means that they can be washed and reused for multiple times. Hemp sanitary pads are 100% biodegradable, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, rash-resistant, UV-resistant, and heavy flow control. Due to these properties, women travellers and pregnant women can also use them for maintaining their menstrual hygiene.
Recently, we have received a request from an NGO in Tamilnadu to deliver reusable hemp sanitary pads to imprisoned women. Moreover, some of them also give births to children during their imprisonment making them grow mal-nutritioned in horrible prison conditions. Moreover, migrant workers are also in need of these sanitary pads in these harsh pandemic times. Providing them with reusable hemp sanitary pads will be a goodwill gesture and can also at least help them maintaining menstrual hygiene.
Later, we can also train these women for stitching these sanitary pads making them transform the paths towards the positive contribution for the society.
We represent a community of farmers, women and agropreneurs from Himachal Pradesh called Himalayan Hemp who are working collectively with the state government and farmers for building an eco-conscious and economically beneficial supply chain of hemp sanitary pads. Apart from creating a menstrual boon for the women, it is a source of income for the local women farmers. For installing the necessary equipment and making payments for their efforts to the farmers, we need investment to execute this project effectively.