Her experiences are helping other women bleed safe. A safe way to healthy menstruation.
Majority of girls start their first periods with homemade cloth pads. However, once a girl gotta go out, she definitely switches to sanitary pads as homemade cotton cloth pieces don't seem to serve the purpose effectively. How convenient using sanitary pads can be, they often tend to cause discomfort in the form of irritation, redness and rashes. The problem comes both at a personal level as well as at an environmental level on a big scale. Women use sanitary products every month generating huge waste that takes hundreds of years to decompose. However, the problem of sanitary waste management has a bigger sense to make. Leaving behind the accumulation of waste, its disposal itself poses serious health hazards to the people involved in sanitary waste management and it's equally harmful to the environment too. Once disposed of, along with the rest of the waste, garbage collectors shall have to separate everything by hand, including the sanitary napkins, often without any protective gear. Exposure to this, especially with the lack of protective gear, poses serious health risks like that of succumbing to Salmonella, E Coli, Staphylococcus, HIV and pathogens that cause tetanus and hepatitis. All this moved Sujata Pawar, a social entrepreneur who started her walk for this cause. The current story talks about her green journey that gave a solution to this burning problem.
The Problem - Her Decision:
Sujata Pawar used homemade cloth pads in the initial days of her menstruation. However, owing to several factors, keeping comfort in mind, she started using sanitary napkins like other girls and women. Over a period of time, the ill-effects of these sanitary napkins came to alarm her. After using them for so many years, Sujata, a healthcare professional herself, did extensive research and realized that the chemicals and plastic used to make commercially available sanitary napkins cause irrevocable damage to one’s reproductive system and harm the sensitive vaginal area. Thus, she decided to switch back to cloth pads. When she switched to using cloth pads again, she noticed that these cloth napkins came with their share of headaches to offer. Organic reusable cotton pads are soft but take at least 1 to 2 days to dry. Moreover, washing stains completely off them is another challenge that increases the chances of infection while reusing them. This, again, terrified Sujata. She wanted to find a solution to this.
Her Solution to Address The Problem As A Whole:
Sujata wanted to find a way where a reusable cloth can be made more convenient and comfortable to use. Her tireless research made her encounter happen with a Dutch technology of reusable pads. She quickly grabbed it, worked in collaboration with them and in the year 2020, she launched Avni Safepad, an enterprise that manufactures reusable, antimicrobial, and leak-proof and stain-proof pads. Each Avni pad comes with three layers of highly durable fabrics that allow rapid absorption for 4 to 6 hours. Unlike a normal cotton cloth pad that takes almost two days to dry properly, Avni Safepad takes just 5 to 10 minutes of wash-time and 4-5 hours to dry. The cherry on top comes when we hear that the lifetime of these pads is absolutely three years. The pack comes at an affordable price with 4 menstrual pads - 3-day pads and one night pad with soft, absorbent, hypo-allergenic fabric. They come with storage and carry pouch. The breathable top layer prevents irritation, rashes and gives a dry feel. The middle core is ultra-sorbent and the bottom is PU laminated. The pads are thin, lightweight and stain proof. It is perfect for women of all age groups.
The Brighter Side:
THE PADS ARE TESTED FOR ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY AGAINST 4 COMMON PATHOGENS CAUSING VAGINAL INFECTIONS and the results revealed that the pads are 99.9% efficient.
Go Green Period Kit:
Sujata also included a "Go Green Period" kit that helps women switch between all the products as per their choice and requirement. The idea of Go Green Period Kit also came from Sujata's personal experiences. Being a marketing professional before starting Avni, her work involved a lot of travel and hectic hours.
"Owing to this, my periods were exceptionally difficult and the hassle of using a cotton pad during work hours was often too much to handle", she recollected. So, she came up with a hybrid approach, wherein she used disposable pads during the day and reusable pads at home thus maintaining a fairly sustainable routine.
"At the end of the day, sustainability is not about beating yourself up to use an eco-friendly product even if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle. It is about adopting an eco-friendly routine that you can sustain over time.” She says. Through Avni, this 32-year-old entrepreneur provides a range of reusable as well as disposable menstrual products that are sensitive both to your health and the environment.
Helpline - The First of Its Kind:
To help users and customers' transition between sanitary napkins and eco-friendly menstrual care products, Sujata has created a special helpline where answers to various queries surrounding menstrual health are provided. This #PeriodHelpline is a space where women can call on 91-9930446364 and reach out to an assigned ‘AvniBuddy’ for any relevant help.
We are trying to create an expansive network of experts including paediatricians, educators, gynaecologists, psychologists, yoga masters, etc. who can not only provide valuable information but also enrich our helpline, and enhance the much-needed dialogue around menstrual and sexual health of women, she says.
Walking Towards Success:
Sujata connected with around 2000 women so far through menstrual health workshops. Interaction with them gave her a ray of hope that women are willing to switch to reusable menstrual products, provided they are given an idea about the long-term benefits clearly and also by supporting them throughout the phase of transition.
This one step towards personal and community welfare not leaving behind the environmental aspects is worth applauding. Thanks to the experiences of Sujata Pawar because of which she not only transformed her life but also has set ahead to enhance the overall health and safety of women across the nation. May her venture flourish beyond boundaries and may she enlighten and empower fellow women.
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