New Delhi: Education, employment and eco-friendly this latest initiative in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Jail aims to do more than just break the taboo around periods. A sanitary pad making unit in the jail has been set up to provide women inmates with employment and in the process educate them about its use and promote menstrual hygiene. An NGO, Karma Foundation has set up this sanitary napkin manufacturing unit.
Speaking to NDTV about the start of the initiative, Karan Khanna, Chief Officer, Karma Foundation, said,
Navajivan Trust, organisation founded by Mahatma Gandhi, told us about women inmates at Sabarmati Jail and suggested to Priyanshi Patel, managing trustee, Karma Foundation, to install sanitary napkin manufacturing unit at the prison.
The initiative also hopes to address the flip side of using sanitary napkins – non-biodegradable sanitary waste. The pads produced by the inmates are made up of cornstarch and are completely biodegradable. At any time, 12 women can work on it at once. A pack of eight sanitary pads costs Rs. 18-20 but will be distributed for free among women inmates in various prisons of the state.
The jail’s sanitary napkin manufacturing unit can produce 3,000-4,000 biodegradable pads every day, which means around 1 lakh pads every month.
With being able to produce 1 lakh sanitary pads every month, the initial plan and the target is to provide better menstrual hygiene to 12,500 women inmates. After this, we aim to reach out to different institutes and schools where girls end up missing classes because of lack of menstrual hygiene. We will take awareness sessions along with distributing sanitary napkins. Further, we will reach out to females residing in different villages. In future, we plan to sell these napkins at subsidised rates through government agencies, informs Mr. Karan.
Talking about the pay scale, Mr Karan said, women will be paid according to the jail rules, which is undertrained women get Rs. 70, trained get Rs. 80 and expert get Rs. 100.
This is not the first time that Karma Foundation has taken such initiative. From past one year, the NGO is working towards providing better menstrual hygiene. Under their right to cleanliness initiative, the NGO procures sanitary napkins from manufacturers and distributes it among less privileged girls and women. The NGO organises numerous awareness sessions on a regular basis.