“Surakshya Pads” – ICA Nepal's initiative on Menstrual hygiene and women empowerment

“Surakshya Pads” – ICA Nepal's initiative on Menstrual hygiene and women empowerment



Preeti Tamang, age 34 is a local woman of Changunarayan who stayed at home and ran her handmade crafts business on a personal level. She was always interested to work on her own and be independent. However, insufficient education and job opportunity were causing hindrances to her dreams. She had got the training on making teddy bears and flowers in the village; however, they were not sufficient for her sustainable income. Then, on 2015, ICA Nepal, an organization who had constructed the Women’s and Children Learning Center in Changunarayan back in 2002, started its renovation post earthquake and also organized various trainings. In the course of participating in one of those trainings, Preeti happened to join the training on making low cost sanitary napkins in the village. A two day training was organized where trainers explained on how to use the machine and prepare the sanitary pads. Belonging to a community where menstruation was talked about silently only among women, Preeti felt amazing to be in a group where trainers were male and talking about it quite openly. Then, out of 10 women who received the training, she was one of the finest makers who started producing the napkins later. Now, along with Preeti, 4 other women are producing the “Surakhshya Pads” where they are earning 3000/- t0 4000/- per month in the initial stage. Preeti believes when the product hits the market, they are sure to earn more.



Sanitary napkins is one of the basic Menstruation Management Material which is however costly and haven’t reached to rural areas much. Rural women still use cloth pieces, which are reusable however, in lack of proper hygiene awareness, are prone to several health risks. Therefore, “Surakhsya Pads Uddhyog” is one of such enterprise that not only empowers women financially by providing them the employment and skills but also addresses one of the most challenging issue of time – Menstrual Hygiene Management.

Lack of knowledge on menstrual hygiene and severe social restrictions to perform healthy practices have kept women of Nepal constantly at health risks. While there are rise in use of customized cotton pads, women are still using the old rags being more prone to diseases. Some of them don’t know about the use of pads where some can’t afford the expensive sanitary napkins. In Rural area, girls are compelled to miss school during their periods. Even in Urban area female have to suffer as the toilets aren’t female friendly and lack of sanitation facilities.

During period women and girls need extra care and hygiene. The poor menstrual hygiene can have unpleasant impact on the psycho-social wellbeing of women and girls (e.g. stress levels, fear and embarrassment, social exclusion and risk their health during menstruation). The lack of proper washing facilities and sanitary surrounding are creating many challenges which women keep mostly to themselves. The proper education on maintaining menstrual hygiene, timely changing sanitary pads, ways to properly dispose the pads should also be given parallelly to develop menstrual health and hygiene holistically among women.

Considering these problems ICA Japan and ICA Nepal has started a new initiation towards Menstrual Hygiene Management. In support of ICA Japan and ICA Nepal Local woman groups of Changunarayan are producing low-cost disposable sanitary napkins called “Surakshya Pads”
The local women from the Changunarayan community have begun using the Surakhshya Pads and they are commenting it very comfortable and leakage free which have enhanced their confidence and self esteem. With this, the talk on menstrual hygiene has started. Women have started breaking their hesitation and treating menstruation as a normal biological process.  ICA Nepal believes this is the approach that we require in order to break the long rooted traditions and taboo regarding menstruation.



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