The Man is a genius, what he did for rural women while their menstrual cycle is inspiring. More often the women belong to remote areas are habitual of using cotton clothes amid their period’s cycle due to lack of awareness, and unable to find a space for disposing of sanitary pads, which made them unhygienic and causing various problems to their health.
Thanks to this man who comes up from Vadodara, Gujarat and who revolutionise the menstrual hygiene in rural India.
54-year-old Shyam Sunder Bedekar who came up with ingenious solution – a terracotta incinerator, priced at one-tenth the cost. The incinerator, called Ashuddhinashak (Destroyer of Impurities), has sold 1,800 units in four years, reports The Weekend Leader. OOutver 500 of these incinerators have been installed in government schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
To help increase education among girls in rural areas, Shyam Sunder came up with ‘Sakhi’, a brand of low-cost sanitary napkins priced at Rs 2.50 per piece. In order to reach out to a larger number of women, he also designed the machines that made these sanitary napkins. Today, 20 such sanitary manufacturing units are operational across Vadodara district. Each of these units employ 8-10 women, turning them into self-reliant entrepreneurs at the grassroots level.
“With these units, more women in the region started using sanitary napkins, but they struggled to dispose of the used napkins given the lack of a garbage collection and management system in the rural areas,” Shyam Sunder told Down To Earth. Priced between Rs 18,000 and Rs 20,000, the electric incinerators that could help dispose of the used sanitary napkins were simply not affordable.
Compared to 96 percent of women in Europe, only six percent of women in India use sanitary napkins, according to a UN report. Lack of access to affordable sanitary protection leads to loss of education among rural women and makes them vulnerable to several health issues, sometimes leading to infections, infertility, and even death.