Visakhapatnam

A healthy initiative with twin objectives

Team spirit: A team of women making biodegradable sanitary pads.

Team spirit: A team of women making biodegradable sanitary pads.  

Besides promoting hygiene, VCTPL’s CSR drive empowers women

When P. Lakshmi lost her husband a couple of years ago and later abandoned by her in-laws, she was left with no other choice than to head to her parents’ house with her little daughter.

Months later, she was sensible enough to brush her gloomy past aside, get trained in making biodegradable sanitary napkins and find solace in engaging herself in an eight-hour-long job.

Despite a school drop-out, Lakshmi was quick enough to learn the nuances of making a sanitary pad in just three days, a daily task that has now become effortless for her.

Like her, six other women at Icha Foundation, Kondakarla Ava near Anakapalle, join the process of making biodegradable ultra thin sanitary pads that goes through various steps before getting them neatly packed.

The unit installed by Visakha Container Terminal Private Limited (VCTPL), sourcing from S.A. Enterprises, Mumbai, as a part of its CSR initiative now caters to seven underprivileged women who desperately want to provide financial support to their families after getting thoroughly trained in the exercise.

From cutting the sheets into desired shape, stuffing it with layers of pulp sheets, applying the adhesive, drying, sterilising and packing, the team could produce about 500 low-cost eco-friendly packets (each pack comprising 7 pads) per week as of now.

While extending marketing support to Sampoorna Rehabilitation Centre for Physically Challenged for the past few years, COO of VCTPL Sushil Mulchandani says, the CSR initiative went a step further to ensure better reach. “Apparently, the initiative aims at serving two purposes. First, creating employment opportunity and empowering women at the centre. Second, we plan to provide a source of income for the foundation as well by extending marketing support for the products thus manufactured,” he explains.

Daily schedule

Based on the orders received, women at the foundation plan their daily schedule. “It takes a day for us to cut the sheets, pulp and other raw material before proceeding with the rest of the task. Most part of the work is done manually and we coordinate with one another to share responsibilities so that we won’t carry out mundane tasks everyday,” says K. Sarala. The machinery worth ₹2.29 lakh can produce up to 1,200 pieces a day. At present, the team, consisting of sole bread-winners and single women, is busy delivering 2,000 packets of sanitary pads a month. “Initially, the endeavour started off with just two women. Now, we have seven members with us. This apart, many women in the village show keen interest in becoming a part of the team,” says Madhu Tugnait, founder of Icha Foundation, who runs a home for specially-abled children.

Sanitary pads thus produced at the foundation will be bought for ₹35 a pack by VCTPL to distribute them free of cost to municipal and government schools across Visakhapatnam.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:59:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/a-healthy-initiative-with-twin-objectives/article22321257.ece

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