Menstruation in India is never viewed as a simple bodily function. It has been shrouded in skewed customs, traditions and taboos. The terrible repercussions of such an understanding if menstruation are directly felt by a majority of women in India, especially the urban poor.
According to a report by AC Neilson and Pan India, only 12% of women use absorptive pads or other sanitary methods. Many women resort to using alternatives such as rags, sawdust, ash, leaves, grass or newspapers which are incapacitating and uncomfortable as well as the cause of serious infections which can lead to reproductive disease. In India, almost 300 million women do not have access to proper menstrual hygiene practices. Only one in 12 women have adopted sanitary pads till date. And, the most worrying statistic, points out that one in five school going girls droupout soon after puberty!
Sukhibhava is a social enterprise based in Bangalore, India. We educate urban poor women about menstrual health and provide affordable menstrual hygiene products like sanitary pads through trained local female micro-entrepreneurs. To ensure better menstrual hygiene among them. Sukhibhava has initiated a micro distribution business wherein local entrepreneurial women will distribute and sell the menstrual products. It also tries to empower women through education and access to menstrual management choice that gives greater freedom and control over their bodies and lives. We are trying to initiate a change in the entire ecosystem of Menstrual Hygiene Management in India. To do this effectively, we are trying to address the issue from the bottom-up (change at the community level) as well as from the top-down (such as policy changes through joint initiatives) ensuring the two complement eaach other to bring the “Systems-level change”.