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Menstrual hygiene programme wins accolades

Ramzauva Chhakchhuak Bengaluru, August 9, 2015, dhns: 1:14 IST
It may sound shocking and unbelievable but a section of women living in slums makes use of sand, ash, newspapers, plastic bags and rags besides old clothes during their menstrual cycles instead of sanitary pads, due to a lack of awareness or money constraints.

This was one of the findings of a survey that was conducted at various slums in Hebbal, Lingarajpuram, Horamavu, Banaswadi, by Sukhibhava - a City-based social entrepreneurship firm, in 2013. The condition, however, is more or less the same in other parts of the City, according to Dilip Kumar Reddy, one of the founders of the firm.

“Presently, we operate in a number of slums in Koramangala, Frazer Town, Bommanahalli and Viveknagar and from a number baseline surveys that we regularly conduct, we have inferred that out of 10 women as many as seven or eight do not use any sanitary pads at all,” added Dilip.

With an aim to provide menstrual hygiene to urban poor women, Sukhibhava was launched in 2014 and presently caters to 3,860 such women in the City. To begin with, they encourage such women to use sanitary pads through various awareness and education drives with the help of videos and timely follow-up. And then, a cheap yet good quality product is introduced to them. “The retention rate is around 92 per cent which is very encouraging. We do as many as three to four follow-ups to ensure that they continue the practice,” said Dilip.

The firm operates in these slums with the help of a number of micro entrepreneurs and Sukhibhava workers. M Kaveri,a micro entrepreneur in a slum of around 25,000 to 30,000 people at Ambedkarnagar in Koramangala said that the reception has been good in her area. “In one day, as many as 10 to 15 buy sanitary pads from us,” said Kaveri.

Sukhibhava was adjudged as the winners of the Unsung Heroes competition at IIMB that aims to give recognition and reward local low-scale entrepreneurs in the Indian markets. This is a part of the National Annual Entrepreneurship Summit, Eximius, 2015 that is going on in the institute.

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