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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Jayashree Parwar Tells Us How Her Home Became A Factory For Biodegradable Sanitary Pads

  • IWB Post
  •  August 9, 2019

 

In India, sadly, menstruation, a normal physical process, is still a taboo topic. Also due to lack of the proper knowledge, women are unaware of how to dispose of the sanitary pads in a healthy manner. Dumped along with other garbage, these plastic-made pads remain in the environment, polluting our surroundings.

But all is not lost as individuals like Jayshree Parwar are taking up the initiative to save the environment and provide women with a healthier way of living. The villages in Goa have many self-help groups made up of 9 to 10 women. When Jayshree’s group, Saheli, was approached with the opportunity to save the environment, she was quick to give her affirmation. She with the help of three other women, Sulaksha Tari, Naseem Shaikh, and Revati Parwar, in Pilgao village in Bicholim taluka of Goa, started the production of biodegradable sanitary pads.

In a conversation with IWB, Jayashree shares with me how the initiative came into existence.

“I am in a federation of women made up of many self-help groups, and one day we were asked that who would like to take up the manufacturing of eco-friendly sanitary pads. And I was the one to take up the work. And, why not make eco-friendly sanitary pads? The main component of it is the pine wood paper. This pad when buried in mud gets degraded within eight days”

Jayshree also reflects upon the whole issue about how unhealthy plastic sanitary pads or pads made out of clothes are as she relates to it on a personal level.

“I remember when I was a little girl and used the cloth pads and later on started using the ones we brought from the shops. I faced many problems like itching, rashes, and infections. Today, I have no such problems. In fact, 4-5 girls told me that they got infections from the plastic pads, so I requested them to use the pads we make and now they regularly buy it from me. Most women in my village now use it,” explains Jayshree.

In a society which is habitual of shunning the topic of menstruation, Jayshree was able to bring about a social revolution in her village by never accepting defeat. “In the starting, I faced many problems. I would set up my stalls in exhibitions in every village and people would run away at the sight of pads. Only people who were aware of the problem with non-bio degradable waste were ready to listen and buy it.” And her struggles have paid off, with her village supporting her initiative.

Run by women, the production takes place in Jayshree’s house itself in a safe and hygienic manner. Her initiative also includes providing the women of her village with a livelihood. “Every self-help group has 10 women who donate 200 per month and we give this money to any woman who wants to start her business.”

With the aim to take the manufacturing to a national level, Jayshree wants every woman to lead a healthy lifestyle. She wants to hold events in schools to make children learn the necessity to use biodegradable products to combat the growing issue of proper waste management.

Right now these pads are available on Amazon, but she wishes to open her stores all over India to make it easily available for everyone.

This article was first published on August 17, 2017.

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