The tribal women at Paderu are making clean safe menstrual pads!
More than a million tribal women in Andhra Pradesh don't have access to clean affordable menstrual products.
We're going to give them the equipment, materials, and training they need to make their own.
We are delighted to announce that the Mother Theresa Self-Help Group --- two dozen women in the Paderu tribal area of Andhra Pradesh --- produced their first clean affordable menstrual pads early in March. This marks an important milestone in a long-range collaboration between The JJ Metta Foundation (JJMM)'s Period Dignity project and the Andhra Pradesh Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA).
There are more than a million tribal women in Andhra Pradesh and they don't have access to clean affordable menstrual products. Most reuse, and sometimes share, absorbent cloth that is difficult to clean and sanitize. Often, women use rags, crushed leaves, or shredded newspaper to absorb menstrual flow.
ITDA invited JJMM to develop this first-of-its-kind facility as a pilot project in a more comprehensive scheme to improve menstrual health and hygiene in tribal areas throughout Andhra Pradesh. JJMM's Period Dignity project partnered with Jayaashree Industries, founded by India’s famous “Padman,” to provide equipment and raw materials. ITDA Paderu helped us identify a tribal women’s self-help group to produce and distribute the pads. ITDA provided the physical facility to house production and storage, and the Agency's sustainable development staff will support the women through a transition from day-wage agricultural work to a simple though unfamiliar business model involving banking, staffing, and management. Our local partner, Chetana Collective Foundation, coordinated training in collaboration with Jayaashree. A PhD faculty member from Andhra University’s School of Sociology provides onsite support for the project and liaison between ITDA and the self-help group.
Activity at the Paderu facility was suspended in late March as part of India's efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. ITDA took steps to isolate as far as possible the vulnerable villages and to limit personal interactions. Activity will resume when conditions allow, but for now, everyone's primary focus is on personal and community protection against infection.