World Menstrual Hygiene Day: Organisations promoting a healthy period

By: Prasidhi Somani

Published On: May 28, 2018

Menstruation is a normal biological process that half the people of the world experience for a significant part of their lives. On an average, women spend 3,000 days during their lifetime menstruating, yet menstruation is still shrouded in myths and misconceptions. 

Too many girls still have little to no knowledge about their periods and this has a major impact on their lives. That’s why May 28th is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day, spearheaded by Berlin-based nonprofit WASH united to break the silence surrounding menstruation.

Despite all the suppressed notions about periods, there are still a number of organizations and people who are working tirelessly to educate and spread awareness about this taboo subject.

1. Eco Femme: Eco Femme is a global women’s empowering initiative, founded in 2010 and based in Auroville. Their goal is to create environmental and social change through revitalizing menstrual practices that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsive and empowering. 

They produce and sell washable cloth pads, provide menstrual health education to adolescents and promote menstrual practices that are healthy, dignified, affordable and eco-friendly.

2. Arunachalam Muruganantham:

The Pad man of India, Arunachalam Muruganantham is a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore who invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine. A school dropout with no degree in hand, he won the National Innovation Foundation’s Grassroot Technological Innovations Award at IIT Madras in 2006 and also received a Padma Shri in 2016. 

He revolutionized menstrual hygiene for women in rural India through his machines. Today he is successfully supplying low-cost sanitary pads in 4,500 villages in India. He has also provided his technology to 19 other countries.

3. Mukti Project: 

Sarva Damani and Ayesha Alam started Mukti Project to spread menstrual hygiene awareness to the low-income schools in Mumbai. As full time teaching fellows for Teach for India, they realized that there was a drastic decline in the number of girls as they went into higher classes. And as Teach for India encourages to take up a particular problem in the 2nd year, thus, Mukti Project was born. 

This effort has now turned into a well-organized curriculum that covers general hygiene, menstrual health, information on child abuse and a lot more.

4. Aakar Innovations: 

Aakar is a hybrid social enterprise that enables women to produce and distribute affordable, high-quality, 100% compostable sanitary napkin while simultaneously creating awareness and sensitization of menstrual hygiene management. 

Their vision is to break the silence around the issue of menstrual hygiene and provide knowledge and guidance to all their stakeholders, especially adolescent girls. In 2013, they launched a 100% biodegradable sanitary pad under the brand name “Anandi”.

5. Kshitiij Foundation:Snehal Chaudhary, a 25-year-old Software Engineer from Mumbai founded Kshitij to eradicate menstrual taboos in India. She has helped spread awareness about this myth to more than 10,000 women and students across 50 villages. 

Through their “Bleed The Silence” project, Kshitij Foundation addresses common myths and misconception regarding menstruation, enable adolescent girls to overcome inhibitions about talking and seeking help when required, encourage girls to continue their schooling and women to be more hygienic.

6. Aditi Gupta: 

She is the founder of Menstrupedia, a friendly guide to periods to help females through the monthly cycle. Launched 6 years ago, this platform has already made a significant contribution to opening up the conversation on menstruation. 

The organization aims to promote awareness and also acts as a guide for girls and women using a website, a comic book and social media including a YouTube channel. Gupta now wants to take the comic book beyond the Indian Shores and produce it for South Asian and African countries.