Thrissur: A group of women in Kerala’s Thrissur district – most of them above 60 years of age – are the latest to offer organic sanitary napkins to women in India called Soukhyam – a Malayalam word that means ‘healing’.
After almost giving up on their vision of organic sanitary napkins for women, they learnt the technology from Coimbatore-based Arunachalam Muruganatham – also known as the ‘menstrual man’ who created a napkin-making machine. Since then, there has been no turning back for these women who are actively involved with NGO Kanika.
“There are no chemicals in these napkins and are easy to dispose. You can either burn it or bury it. It will not spoil the atmosphere as it is organic and is absolutely safe,” says Vasanthi Gopalan, Founding President of NGO Kanika.
For most of the volunteers, the pads are more than a product. They espouse a cause.
The pads, made with wood pulp and paper glue, do not have any chemicals or hazardous plastic.
The women say they won’t market the pads and will stick to the word-of-mouth and focus on reaching out to those who are unable to afford sanitary napkins or other commercial alternatives.
“Soukhyam sanitary pads are available for Rs 43 for a pack of 10. Our focus is on distributing them to the poor and offer them alternate modes of hygiene,” said Prabha Chandrashekhar, a volunteer.
Shyaleja Das, a homemaker, says,”I have stopped buying napkins from outside and I am using this for the last 2-3 months. It’s very comfortable.”