CHENNAI: On the occasion of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, an event in the city saw the revival of an ancient tradition — using cloth pads during menstruation. Mata Amritanandamayi Math launched reusable pads made out of banana fiber called Saukhyam designed by Anju Bist, co-director, Amrita SeRVe (Self Reliant Village), also known as ‘Pad Woman’ of India, and Meera Krishnakutty, Amrita SeRVe.
At the event, Anju spoke about the unhealthy usage of sanitary napkins. “Sanitary pads are made out of plastic. It is estimated that one pad is equivalent to four plastic bags, and will take 500-800 years to decompose. Burning these pads emits harmful dioxins and furans,” said Anju. Economically too, its unsustainable, she points out. “On average, one woman spends at least `1,200 every year, around `70,000 over a lifetime,” she said.
To overcome these shortcomings, they came up with the idea of Saukhyam pads. “We are launching these pads for the first time in Chennai. We have been selling these pads in other cities for the past eight months,” said Anju. Saukhyam means well-being and happiness. These pads are reusable and are made of banana fiber, which acts as a natural absorbent, and cotton cloth which offers a sustainable solution for women. “The cotton cloth material we using is the finest quality. It is 60’s cotton which allows the skin to breathe,” said Anju.
Saukhyam reusable pads lasts for four to five years and is available in two types — day pad has 10 grams of banana fibre which lasts for eight hours, and night pad has 12 grams of banana fibre and the base is longer compared to day pad. These pads can be washed in five minutes since the cloth doesn’t get stained much. The cost of the pad is `200. “Amma, of Mata Amritanandamayi Math, is planning to bring down the rates even further, to be affordable by disadvantage communities,” said Anju.
The Saukhyam pads are available in their website www.saukhyampads.org and also in stores like Goli Soda, Tharuvar. It will soon be available at Nilgiris stores. They also have a plan to introduce reusable diapers.
Three reasons to use reusable pads
● Healthy choice
● Better for the environment
● Saves your money