Project Sahana is an enterprise for women, of women and by women.
Floated by the Sornammal Education Trust (SET) and supported by the Ma Foi Foundation, in collaboration with SHE Trust of Kuwait, the self-help group (SHG) produces a low-cost sanitary napkins, said to be environment friendly and bio-degradable.
Working from Aynavaram, the women de-fibre the wood pulp, flatten it to neat rectangles, seal them with an absorbent covering, and put the self adhesive tabs in place.
Says Latha Rajan, trustee of Sornammal Trust and director of Ma Foi Management Consultants Ltd: “We have more than 30,000 women in numerous SHGs in the Trust. Many of them have started micro enterprises that include jute bag making, ornamental jewellery making, retailing, enumeration and market surveys.
Under this project, each woman can generate an income of Rs. 2,000 a month, and 200 women will be gainfully employed in due course.”
The project is the brainchild of theatre person Mithran Devanesan, who happened to know Coimbatore-based Jaishree Industries (winner of the President’s award for Innovation and excellence), which has supplied the machinery.
Says Kamala, who heads the group of eight women at Project Sahana: “We have been encouraged by the feedback.”
Latha Rajan says: “The market is huge. Even if all our SHG members can get their daughters, neighbours and friends to use it, we’ll have a huge customer base.”
And, finding market linkages isn’t insurmountable, because the members of the Trust have received entrepreneurial development training, and are all charged up after visiting a similar factory in Coimbatore. Way to go, girls!