A women’s group from a remote village of Shahgund in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district has started production of sanitary napkins to “earn livelihood and help rural women improve their health”.
The group comprises eleven members whose mission is to “spread awareness on health and hygiene of women in every village and far-flung area” in Kashmir, the owner of the unit, Raziya, told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
She said that in the villages and far-flung areas, women lack knowledge of health and hygiene which makes them vulnerable to a lot of diseases and health issues. “So, we decided to provide that knowledge and create awareness of hygiene. We also provide sanitary products to the women in our village Shahgund. However, our vision and mission is to reach every village in Kashmir to spread health and hygiene awareness among women,” she said.
Keep these things in mind, with the formation of a Self Help Group and support of the ‘JKRLM UMEED’ scheme, we continued research in our surroundings and found that we seriously need to do something to aware women of the benefits of using sanitary pads, Raziya said, adding that with the initiative the group members also earn their livelihood.
Raziya said during their research, they found that most of the women don’t know the use of sanitary napkins. “They have been using clothes or fabrics instead which in turn create a number of health problems,” she said.
“A woman should be provided basic knowledge and information about such important things but our society considers it a taboo. So, we all are responsible for this. We should empower our women with knowledge, wisdom and support them to live their life in a better way,” said one of the group members.
Shareen Shafi, District Program Manager, Institution Building and Capacity Building (IB/CB) while talking to KNO said that the group got a “unique idea” to deal with the production of sanitary napkins. The Self Help Group (SHG) members were trained for the successful running of the unit, Shareen said.
Meanwhile, Raziya said they are thankful to JKRLM for providing them with an opportunity to “not only script our success story but also earn a livelihood”.
She said although the unit is at its nascent stage, it has been able to make 1000 to 1200 sanitary napkins per day. “The cost of a napkin is also low as compared to others,” she said.
“We expect to produce around 2000 pieces per day and are ready to market our products. All we are waiting for is an official launching ceremony,” Raziya said