This report has been submitted by the students of Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, in which they share their experience of installing a sanitary napkin production unit as a measure to deal with women hygiene issues.
In her pursuit of inculcating experiential learning, Mrs Nishi Misra, our Principal, came up with the idea of community service for women as part of the Service section of the Award Programme. Having shared the idea with us, she guided us to survey the areas around Gwalior to find a cause to espouse. During our analysis, we found that women hygiene is a highly stigmatised issue. It was then that we discovered the essence of our community service activity. Mrs Misra worked hard to acquire a low cost indigenous sanitary napkin unit from Coimbatore, with the vision of producing sanitary napkins for women who can’t afford them.
After the successful running of this unit at the school campus, Mrs Misra launched women empowerment projects in two villages, Jarga and Virpur, where low-cost and eco-friendly sanitary napkin machines were installed and the production is managed by village women. Having been approached by numerous hospitals, NGOs and scheme developers that expressed their desire to purchase this product, Mrs Misra has been working out a small scale industry model to make this product self-sustaining.
Though Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya is an all girls’ school, Mrs Misra invites students of both sexes from schools in both India and abroad to engage in ‘shram-daan’ (labour service) and earn ‘volunteer hours’. She has developed it into an activity during the Youth Festivals that she holds at the school. We, together with students of other schools, work on manufacturing the napkins and assist in their distribution at the village.
At times of natural disasters like the floods in Kashmir, the Nepal earthquake or even the recent Kerala floods, we try and work relentlessly on these manufacturing machines to send a good batch of sanitary napkins, along with other relief materials to the needy. We deem it our duty to donate as well as work hard on these machines to prepare sanitary napkins for women who need them.
The initiative of setting up this unit is called SKV-Sankalp, a collective resolution taken by Mrs Nishi Misra and us to help women live with dignity. We staunchly believe that this will go a long way in gender sensitization of the youth.