July 11, New Delhi: We Are Water Foundation India, a non-profit organization supported by Roca, moves a step ahead in promoting sanitation and personal hygiene among women by inaugurating a sanitary pad manufacturing unit in Delhi today. The manufacturing unit was inaugurated by Ms. Vandana Kumari, MLA (Shalimar Bagh Constituency, New Delhi), Mr. KE Ranganathan, MD, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd along with Mr. Shekhar Mahajan, Chief Functionary, Sahyog and Swati Manchikanti, WASH Specialist, UNICEF in Haiderpur Village, Badli, New Delhi.
This initiative is an extension of the ongoing flagship campaign ‘Sauchalya Apna, Bitiya ka sapna’ targeted at providing better sanitation and hygiene for the women and girl child. It will promote better health & hygiene among the women community & will generate employment opportunities by training them to manufacture sanitary napkins with raw materials available locally. For setting-up this project, the foundation has joined hands with Habitat for Humanity India, a non-profit organization that builds homes and provides housing related services to low-income, marginalized families across India.
Limited understanding of menstruation, zero access or lack of hygienic menstrual products, widespread myths and misconception around it are some of the biggest problems crippling women health among the lower sections of society. In studies it has been found that only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins and rest i.e. 88% women follow unhealthy practices. Women commonly use all kinds of clothes (rags, rejected cloth) as a sanitary napkin in rural & slums in India and this figure is sometimes over 88%. This is due to unawareness of menstrual management and is costly available option in the market (70% Indian families cannot afford costly sanitary napkins).
Under the scheme, We Are Water Foundation will set up and engage Self Help Groups in production, marketing and supply of quality sanitary napkins to women and girls at a low price in slum areas. This initiative aims at increasing awareness on the importance of better sanitation facilities and hygiene for women and adolescent girls. The project is being set up at an urban slum in Badli More, New Delhi. It involves setting up machinery and production unit, procurement of raw materials, market sensitization and training of workers. The project seeks to promote around 50,000 women in slum areas of Delhi NCR by educating them and creating awareness amongst them on sanitation and hygiene through Self Help Group model.
Speaking on the launch, Mr. K E Ranganathan, Managing Director, RBPPL & Managing Trustee We are Water Foundation India, said, “Practices related to menstruation are clouded by taboos and social-cultural restrictions for women in the country today. We are Water Foundation India has actively been working to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions for the under privileged section of the society; especially women and girls. This project is innovative in its approach because it looks at technological innovation as a development process for the women living in the slums. It not only materializes the cause of income generation, but also looks in to the health and sanitation issues for larger masses. This self-sustainable project seeks to reach out to more than 50,000 women in slum areas of Delhi NCR.”
The foundation has been working immensely in rural areas and has already constructed individual household latrines and school toilet blocks across multiple villages in the country.