BENGALURU: Around 360 BBMP women link workers (powrakarmikas) could receive sanitary cups as part of a campaign in the city.
For every Stonesoup cup purchased by a donor, the social enterprise provides the same number of cups to the workers. The firm aims to spread awareness on the benefits of sustainable menstruation and tackle the 4,000-plus tonnes of garbage produced in Bengaluru on a daily basis.
These medical-grade silicone cups are inserted into the vaginal canal to collect menstrual discharge, which can be periodically emptied every few hours. The eco-friendly cups completely eliminate sanitary waste, and have been in the market for quite some time.
However, most people did not opt for them before due to high prices and a lack of awareness.The current debate on GST on sanitary pads brings to light some important issues. For women who can’t afford disposable pads with or without the current GST of 12%, a hygienic sanitary product is out of the question.
And if disposable napkins are made affordable, the environment is affected. Menstrual cups on the other hand are a costly affair. “A lot of women who were purchasing our cups were interested in giving them to women from the lower income group - which is how the idea for the campaign came about,” says Malini Parmar, co-founder of Stonesoup.
Malini adds that she told her customers that if they fund half, the firm will fund the other half.
“Underprivileged women need menstrual cups more than anyone else as they spend a lot of time working outdoors with no access to toilets, let alone clean ones,” she says.
Malini says that organisations and individuals have both taken part in this. However, they are currently focusing on groups that want to run a programme for underprivileged women. For example, at composting santhes at every ward in the city, residents and Stonesoup are donating cups for the link workers, says Malini. She adds that about 60 of Bengaluru’s link workers have received cups till now. Their next target is to get cups to government school teachers.
20 cups donated
The pilot for this programme was conducted in the city’s south zone, where 20 cups were donated. Mayor G Padmavati and Dr Meenakshi Bharat, gynaecologist from Malleswaram, launched the campaign on July 31 during a composting santhe. Women from north zone donated 10 cups, and Stonesoup matched this by donating 10 cups to the link workers in Yehelanka. A composting santhe in Indiranagar saw two cups being donated to link workers associated with that particular ward. Besides Bengaluru, Cup for Cup has also been launched in Delhi with Suparnaa Chaddha, a media personality who runs the Women Endangered initiative formed post Nirbhaya.