MANY ISSUES TO SOLVE
This is a multidimensional problem:
No changing facilities in schools.
The disposal problem - there are no disposal systems
Disposable versus reusable pads
The lack of washing and drying facilities.
The social taboo
The mental health issue
The education issue.
Red Bindi aims to address this problem at all of those levels in the long term.
This is a huge challenge. Imagine having to go every month to distribute sanitary pads to girls and women in 600,000 villages and 100's of urban areas in India alone!
How many workers will that need? Should we supply them one year's supply in a visit? Should we supply them reusable ones, instead?
In India, we have partnered with a local NGO, Pinkishe (www.pinkishe.org) that currently has a network of over 175,000 members all over India to distribute pads.
In the beginning, we experimented distributing disposable pads. The experience led us to think of reusable pads.
How to Effect Change?
Trying to distribute disposable pads was a huge learning experience.
- What will those women do the next month?
- How do we ensure we distribute to the same women the next month to really create an impact?
- Villages have no disposable facilities! Are we creating environmental problems in the process?
It became obvious that reusable pads, though inconvenient in some way and expensive upfront, is the way to go.
A pack of 5 Reusable Pads, will last a woman 2 full years! This will bring a habitual change - and create a real impact.
In association with Pinkishe, our partner NGO in India, we have reached out to schools and slums and have conducted awareness camps and distributed reusable pads to girls and women.
We are now implementing a village by village approach wherein we shall do a comprehensive assessment of a village and work with village heads/local social workers to implement educational and distribution programs to rid the village of this menacing problem.
We also aim to create small, cottage-industry kind assembly units in rural areas to make these reusable pads. This will provide employment to women while helping solve the menstruation problem.
In the long term, we aim (and hope) to set up similar distribution programs in other countries.