Bengaluru: Menstrual hygiene pads for women by women

Menstrual hygiene pads for women by women
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Menstrual hygiene pads for women by women 

Highlights

Avni’s cloth pads are manufactured by women for women. The menstrual care company, Avni employs women from rural areas to manufacture their cloth pads in a bid to create a female-centric eco-system.

Bengaluru: Avni's cloth pads are manufactured by women for women. The menstrual care company, Avni employs women from rural areas to manufacture their cloth pads in a bid to create a female-centric eco-system.

It all started when the co-founder and CEO, Sujata Pawar started exploring better options for female hygiene when she started experiencing discomfort from prolonged usage of sanitary pads. Upon discovering cloth pads, she was instantly fascinated by their simplicity and comfortability. Aimed at bringing the comfort of the cloth pad to more Indian women, Sujata Pawar launched Avni in 2020 along with her husband Apurv Agrawal.

The company came up with the Avni Safe pad last August. Moving away from the plastic and chemical of the regular sanitary pads, this pad is made using different fabrics. It's a three-layered product, hand-stitched and comes with a button to attach to undergarments. It can be used for three-four hours and reused for up to 3 years. The pad has embedded anti-microbial technology, making it a natural disinfectant and stain-free.

But when it came to the manufacturing of the product for women they turned to women. "We realised that it was just fabric in and out and stitching was a common skill among women. We contacted a few NGOs to reach out to interested women and set up the units." said, Sujata Pawar. She added that the key reason why they chose women from rural areas was to create employment for women from a product being manufactured for women.

Through the NGOs, Avni set up three units in Tamil Nadu and southern Maharashtra. But the challenge was only starting. Though these women were familiar with stitching, they had not seen a product like this. "We had to train them about the various fabrics used, teach them not to interchange the order of the fabrics, and provide required training to use the machinery involved," said Sujata.

Now, with the collaboration of these women, Avni produces up to 1 lakh SafePads in a month. In addition to manufacturing the product, they also sell it in their villages, said Sujata.

With the increased use of newer menstrual hygiene products also meant having to address various taboos and misconceptions surrounding the topic.

To help create awareness about their products and break myths, Avni also has a 24X7 helpline to address questions and queries by women. Unlike most helplines that are dependent on a call-centre system, Avni chooses to have a direct line with these women. They have assigned a mobile number that can be contacted at all times via call or WhatsApp. The queries are answered by experts in the field.

"Nowadays, we have also started receiving queries about menstrual health as well," added the co-founder.

Avni aspires to build more infrastructure where women workforce can be utilised to create more female-centred products. They also are launching a new period pain relief product next month.

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