NITI Aayog honour for Kerala's Anju Bist - pad-woman of India
Anju and her team are the first in the world to make reusable menstrual pads from banana fibre, which comes from agro-waste.
KOLLAM: A Kollam native’s exemplary work in making a reusable pad has given her an opportunity to win many outstanding awards. Counting the recent on her list, Anju Bist, a Kollam native, of Amrita SeRVe (Saukhyam Reusable Pad) is one among the 75 women honoured as Women Transforming India by the NITI Aayog.
Women have consistently been playing a key role in transforming India into a ‘Sashakt Aur Samarth Bharat’. In recognition of the remarkable achievements of these women across diverse sectors, NITI Aayog has instituted the Women Transforming India Awards.
Anju and her team are the first in the world to make reusable menstrual pads from banana fibre, which comes from agro-waste. Their vision is that the same high-quality pad they export should be made available at an affordable price in rural areas of India. To date, they have sold and distributed over 5 lakh pads, helping prevent the emission of over 2,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. This has also helped eliminate an estimated 43,750 tonnes of non-biodegradable menstrual waste.
Amrita SeRVe is providing high quality affordable menstrual pads made of banana fibre to women and girls everywhere. Anju Bist has extensive experience working in rural areas of India. When the Mata Amritanandamayi Math adopted villages in 2013, she was part of the team that travelled to the most backward village clusters in 21 states of India, helping begin initiatives for the sustainable development of these villages.
A focus on providing eco-friendly and low-cost solutions for menstrual hygiene resulted in the development of Saukhyam Reusable Pads from banana fibre and cotton cloth. Saukhyam Reusable Pads have won multiple awards and are sold internationally. Today they are sold online as well as exported to countries such as UK, Germany, USA, Kuwait and Spain. The team’s vision is that the same high-quality pad that is exported should be made available at affordable prices in remote, rural communities.
Anju obtained her MBA and MS from the University of Maryland at College Park in the USA in 1998 and worked for a management consultancy. In 2003, she moved back to India and during the next decade she was part of Amrita University where she taught Environmental Sciences. She is often referred to as Pad woman of India. Anju is the founding member of the Women in Indian Social Entrepreneurship Network.
In March 2020, she was honoured with the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award for the “exceptional impact, clarity and growth of work dedicated to furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals” from the Women for India and Social Founder Network coalition.
Over 5 lakh pads sold
To date, Anju and her team have sold and distributed over 5 lakh pads, helping prevent the emission of over 2,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.