The Desai Foundation, like so many in India, has found itself needing to continually adapt to the changes being brought about as we move through the second year of a global pandemic. Thousands of women rely on the Asani Sanitary Napkin program for sustained livelihood to support their families, and hundreds of thousands more rely on the program to make available much-needed menstrual health managment supplies and resources - there is no option but to remain in operation.
During COVID, the Asani Sanitary Napkin Program has distributed more than 445,000 sanitary napkins free of charge in the regions where we work.
Since its inception, the Asani Sanitary Napkin program has impacted more than 270,000 women and girls, and has distributed over 2.3 million sanitary napkins.
As we approach the halfway point of 2021, the Asani Sanitary Napkin Program continues to As of this year, Asani has impacted over 250,000 rural women/girls.
To date in fiscal year 2021, we have produced over 400,000, distributed more than 640,000 sanitary napkins to girls and women in 549 rural villages in India, provided livelihood opportunities to more than 1,000 women in our sanitary napkin production units, and have trained more than 1,000 women in distribution.
Through our free distribution and selling of sanitary napkins, we have impacted over 80,000 women and girls.
While India is facing yet another deadly wave of COVID-19 and national lockdowns, we have distributed over 500,000 sanitary napkins for free to hospitals, COVID Care Centers, and rural women so that they do not have to travel outside of their homes to purchase menstrual hygiene supplies.
As of this year, Asani has impacted over 250,000 rural women/girls. In 2020 alone, we distributed over 400,000 sanitary napkins to girls/women in 408 rural regions in India. We have provided livelihood opportunities to 1,400+ women in our sanitary napkin production units (13/ unit), and have trained 2,000+ women in distribution. Despite the national lockdown, we were able to expand our reach and in November, we successfully launched a new sanitary pad production unit in Rajasthan- because “Periods Don’t Stop for a Pandemic”. Our team on the ground worked rigorously with our partners to ensure that we were able to safely establish and start the production unit in the middle of the crisis. This unit is now fully operational and has provided over 13 local women with jobs in pad production. Due to restricted mobility across the nation, we trained these women virtually using phones, video conferences etc. At present, our production capacity is 6,000 pads/ day. We are also proud to announce that we will be expanding our Asani Sanitary Napkin program to 3 new states in 2021!
Since April of 2020, we have distributed over 60,000 sanitary napkins for free because we believe that 'periods don't stop for a pandemic.' Our program produces and distributes 1 million pads per year. In 2019 alone, we have reached over 40,000 women in 3 Indian States-Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In total, we now have four production units running in rural India. We have trained over 750 women and provided livelihood opportunities to over 350 women and girls in India. We also have conducted 612 menstrual health seminars in our target rural areas to educate communities on menstrual hygiene and management.
Responding to the global pandemic, we decided to pivot from our regular program- Menstrual Health Resources and Employment project, to address the health and livelihood needs of our target population. Therefore, we are expanding our Asani Sanitary Napkin program to a new location in India-Jaipur, Rajasthan. We've converted one of the machines to make 3-ply non-woven surgical masks and sanitary pads. Our target is to produce and distribute up to 3MM masks in the next 10-12 months. We would also like to inform our donors that we employed over 120 women from our livelihood projects, to produce hand-sewed face masks. So far we have distributed over 100,000 face masks in our target communities. In the past 3 months, we have distributed care kits (masks, sanitary napkins, and food) to over 50,000 people in our communities.
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