September 03, 2021: Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, was the site of the launch of a cloth pad manufacturing unit operated by local SHG members. The unit was initiated by the Menstrual Hygiene Management programme under the Tata Trusts’ WASH portfolio.
The event was heralded as a much-needed initiative for the community and the words and presence of all dignitaries helped not only in breaking the silence over the cultural myths and taboos surrounding menstruation but also in building a conversation around good menstrual hygiene practices. This Tata Trusts initiative focuses on building awareness, promoting hygienic practices and cost-effective and eco-friendly menstrual absorbents (products) along with their safe disposal.
The event was graced by chief guest Ms Swati Singh, the Honourable Minister of Women Welfare, Child Development and Nutrition (Uttar Pradesh). Ms Singh kicked off the project by inaugurating the cloth pad unit in the block development office premises. She also proposed marking a red dot on the front wall of every house in Sarojini Nagar as a gesture of support for good menstrual hygiene. The chief guest also proposed supporting sales of reusable cloth pads through the ICDS anganwadi network.
The Sarojini Nagar cloth pad manufacturing unit will provide both economic and social empowerment for the members of women self-help groups. The programme aims to impact the lives of around 30,000 women and adolescent girls in three districts (Bahraich, Shravasti and Lucknow).
Other dignitaries present included Satyawati Saroj (Deputy Director, ICDS), Sarvesh Pandey (Deputy Director, Women Welfare), Akhilendra Dubey (District Programme Officer, ICDS), Kamini Srivastava (Child Development Project Officer), Sharada Gautam (Tata Trusts Zonal Manager, North), Amita Jain (Tata Trusts Senior Executive, DI) and Arjun Tomar of Tata Powerlinks. The support accorded to the project is a testimony to the changing outlook towards menstrual hygiene, which was once considered a taboo or sensitive topic.