The business management students of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS) are engrossed in some social welfare work these days. It would not be wrong to say that they are the young blood and believe in fulfilling their responsibility towards society but a major factor that lies behind their work is to create a self-sustainable entrepreneurship model to empower the marginalised and make them self sufficient individuals.
For this they are focussing on the use of hygienic sanitary napkins by women in slums and villages, while providing them with a sustained means of livelihood and better standard of living. To serve their purpose what could have been a better day that International Women’s Day to reach out to the women living in slums and making them aware about the importance of hygiene?
As a part of their project ‘Sanitation Solution’ run by an international non-profit organisation Enactus along with SSCBS since 2009, the students organised an awareness camp and financial literacy camp for slum women in and around Delhi including areas in Dwarka, Shadipur and Madanpur Khadar earlier this week.
The event crossed the state boundaries and reached Kothputli, Rajasthan and
Palwal, Haryana as well.
“In three years of operations, Sanitation Solutions has reached out to 32 slums and one village each in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Odisha,” says Leuuba Chopra, associate Enactus and Ist year student of business management. “We focus on the supply chain management, by selecting enterprising women from each of our targeted areas and directly link them with the manufacturers of sanitary napkins. This direct supply chain ensures a reasonable profit for the entrepreneur while maintaining affordability for the final consumer,” she says.
“The sanitation solution works on three basic fundamentals – acceptability, affordability and accessibility,” says Leuuba. “Regular interactive health awareness camps are conducted to promote the usage of sanitary pads. Meanwhile, a shorter supply chain is ensured to keep prices low for buyers while providing women entrepreneurs with fair profit whereas for accessibility, it is door-to-door selling of quality sanitary napkins by women entrepreneurs within the community,” she explains.
Ultimately, their project impacts the usage of hygienic sanitary napkins, stable monthly income for women entrepreneurs and awareness about female reproductive health. Subsequently, in the long run, it can help to bring the rate of cervical cancer and Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) down, loss of working days due to menstruation and dropout rate of girls from school.
The business model to reach out to the marginalised has won awards like Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Partnership Grant and SIFE National Competition. Meanwhile, the business management students involved with Enactus were invited to present a research paper on sanitation solutions at the Indian Institute of Health and Management, Research, Jaipur, last year.