By women, for women

Adivasi women make eco-friendly sanitary pads for girls in tribal schools

In pursuit of economic self-reliance, a Joint Liability Group (JLG) of eight Adivasi women in the tribal heartland of Bhadrachalam is spearheading an eco-friendly enterprise. They have thus far made and supplied 5,700 biodegradable sanitary pads, branded ‘Suchi Vasi’, free-of-cost to girls in the 18 Tribal Welfare Ashram High Schools (TWAHSs) across the district.

The Bhadradri Srirama JLG has its manufacturing unit on the premises of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) in the temple town of Bhadrachalam.

Funding secured

Funding of ₹5 lakh was secured from the Tribal Welfare Department in December 2017, sources said, and the women were trained by experts from Coimbatore.

For supplying to the schools, the Integrated Tribal Development Agency assisted them in securing an order from the Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC). On an average, the women make about 100 pads per day, but they aren’t able to keep up with the demand for them. Two more units may be set up soon in the Yellandu and Aswapuram mandals.

“We need to scale up the production to meet the demand. We plan to price the pads at ₹28 per packet of eight pads,” says Venkata Lakshmi, head of the Bhadradri Srirama JLG. “We use only natural raw material like wood pulp and our products are safe and hygienic.”

Meagre earnings

Each member of our group earns about ₹3,000 per month, says Lalitha, another member.

“We have made a representation for a machine that can manufacture our eco-friendly pads with ‘wings’, which are most preferred by the users,” she says, adding, “Though the income is not substantial, the enterprise is highly beneficial for promoting menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls.”

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