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Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India

by The Desai Foundation
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Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India
Menstrual Health Resources and Employment in India

Pragnaben Patel, a 35-year-old woman living in Dharshana village in Gujarat, India, benefitted immensely from the Asani program. She is married with two children (boys) and is currently working in the production unit earning Rs.3,800 (approximately $55) per month. Before joining the program, she was working on farms as a daily wage labourer. Her husband’s income was spent on her children’s school fees and other necessities. She was also one in many thousand rural women who used cloth instead of sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle. 

Asani gave her a platform to learn new skills, grow professionally, and become an earning member of her family. Her monthly family income is in the range of Rs.9,000-10,000 ($90-$120) per month, which is on the higher end for a family living in rural India. 

Today, Pragnaben is an independent woman who is performing two roles- financially supporting her family and helping women and girls in her village learn about the importance of menstrual hygiene and management. 

Asani continues to help women and girls like her to learn about menstrual hygiene and the health benefits of using safe sanitary napkins. 

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Jagrutiben, a 33-year-old woman living in Dharshana, Gujarat, India, benefitted immensely from the Asani program. She is married with two children (girls) and is currently working as a distribution specialist in the program, earning Rs.2000 (approximately $30) per month. Prior to joining the program, her role was limited to a homemaker who couldn’t travel to the city for the job due to unavailability of transport facilities and familial responsibilities - taking care of her husband, in-laws and children.

Asani gave her a platform to learn new skills, grow professionally and become an earning member of her family. Her monthly family income is in the range of Rs.10,000-15,000 ($120-$130), which is on the higher end for a family living in rural India.

Today, Jagruti is an independent and confident woman who is performing two roles- financially supporting her family, and helping women and girls learn about the importance of menstrual hygiene and management. As a mother, she ensures that her daughters are aware of what is a period and have access to safe sanitary napkins, unlike her.

Asani has helped many like Jagruti to learn about menstrual hygiene and the health benefits of using safe sanitary napkins. It has cultivated dignity in them by making them financially independent. It has not only resulted in enhanced knowledge on MHM but has also provided livelihood opportunities to women who are restricted to their household chores due to traditional norms or scarce options. We have reached out to 3,000 women alone in Gujarat and are planning to scale the same model to other Indian states by end of 2019. 

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Team at Asani
Team at Asani

We are excited to announce that with your help and support our Asani Sanitary Napkin program is doing great! It currently employs 11 women in the production unit who with their dedication and commitment have managed to produce 150,000 + sanitary napkins so far, out of which 20k sanitary napkins have been sold by our sales team of 20 will-powered women.

Apart from making a living for themselves, these women also contribute to the greater good of the society. They contributed 65k sanitary napkins in collaboration with Saral Designs to provide relief to the hundreds of women and girls affected by the Kerala floods.

Our Asani Sanitary Napkin Program has been successful in creating awareness and more women are keen on learning about the program. As part of our expansion plan we are creating awareness about the Sanitary Napkin Program and during one such awareness campaigns at the Gram Vikas Trust in Bharuch we were able to successfully enroll 2 women who travelled from different villages just to learn more about the program. They are now independent women who have been selling Asani sanitary napkins since the last 15 days.

We are gearing up to expand the Asani program to two more regions by the end of the year - expanding our impact by thousands.

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We're happy to share Zahida’s story with you. She is a 39 year old married woman and a mother of 4 children. She belongs to the Khergam village and is currently employed in the sales department.

She lost her father at a young age and had to give up her education due to financial issues. After her marriage, Zahida and her husband, who is a truck driver worked hard so that they could make ends meet.

Zahida did not want to compromise on her children’s education and wanted them to receive the education she never did and so she and her husband admitted their children, three girls and a boy in a good school. In 2017, Zahida and her husband faced a financial crisis when her husband left his job as a truck driver. It was then, that Zahida learnt about the vocational sewing program and the Sanitary Napkin Program. She enrolled herself in these programs and dedicated her time to learning.

With her commitment and hard work she is now independent and runs her own business from home by tailoring custom-made clothes. She is also part of the sales team where she sells Asani Sanitary Napkins.

She is happy and has a sense of pride in her achievements while being able to contribute her bit for this social cause. She is grateful that through the Asani Sanitary Napkin Program she is able to make extra income, provide better education for her children and dream beyond her circumstances.

Your support makes many such dreams come true.

Zahida - part of the Sales team at Asani
Zahida - part of the Sales team at Asani
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Dear GlobalGiving Friends,

On this GlobalGiving Bonus Day, we are excited to announce that moving forward we will be using this space to share stories
highlighting individuals whose lives you have changed through your support
of our Asani program.

The first of these stories is about a young woman by the name of Sejal:

Sejal is 25 years old. She is from the village of Untdi is well educated
and active in her community. After receiving her degree in computer
application programming, Sejal got married and her life changed.

For the next 3 years, Sejal remained at home fulfilling her duties as a
housewife. She was afraid that there were no job opportunities for her in
Untdi and her husband’s earnings had to support their entire household of 8 (including Sejal’s mother, in-laws, and 2-year-old son).

This year, Sejal’s life changed as she joined our Asani sales team. By
taking a job which is entrepreneurial and self-managed, she is able to earn
income for her family while maintaining her commitments to care for her
household and family responsibilities. This job has offered her
fulfillment and the ability to use her education to promote health for the
women in her community.

This story was documented by Yati Desai, Special Projects Manager for the
Desai Foundation. Yati has been heavily involved in a managerial role with
the Asani program 
it's inception and is determined to help this program reach 250,000 women and girls. Her incredible career in the pharmaceutical industry gave her the opportunity to work on awareness programs about public health issues including sickle cell anemia and polio. We are so grateful for her
leadership and drive to increase MHM access and awareness.

Make a contribution today and help us reach more women like Sejal.

Sincerely,

Tess Fenn
Director of Partnerships and Development 
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The Asani production team smiles with new product
The Asani production team smiles with new product

As we prepare for Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28th), we are excited to share an update with our Global Giving community about our current initiatives and our progress with our new SWACHH machine. Since the purchase of this groundbreaking machine, we are pleased to report that we have improved the quality of our Asani products and have received positive initial feedback from our customers. With this machine, a new Asani technician was hired to help program the equipment and provide any maintenance support needed. Since transitioning to this upgraded machine, we are delighted that we have already been able to increase our sales team from seven to fifteen women, with each woman selling 100-200 pad packs per month.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., we have also made some progress! May 1st marked the launch of a new Desai Foundation advocacy campaign called #PledgeYourPeriod - which aims to get our U.S. community more deeply involved in supporting our work with Asani and exposing the reality of the issues around menstrual hygiene in India. Though this campaign is still underway, we have seen that this subject remains a controversial topic of discussion in the western world. The campaign encourages both men and women to share on social media why they believe this is subject is important to talk about. We have learned through this experience that a taboo still exists (in the U.S.) around openly talking about this topic. We have been affirmed that much work is still needed! 

In the coming weeks, gearing up to Menstrual Hygiene Day and our 1 year Asani anniversary, we are planning events in both the U.S and India.

  • In New York City on May 30th, we are bringing men and women who have contributed to the #PledgeYourPeriod campaign together to share what they learned in this process and how it felt for each of them to speak publically about Menstrual Hygiene. Please let us know if you are in the area and are interested in joining us!
  • In India, we are holding two events in honor of MHM Day and are expecting approximately 300 women for each event. Like last year, this celebration is an important occasion for women and girls to come together from many different communities to ask questions about their periods, and learn from both medical professionals and their peers. We hope that through these events we will be able to help more women and girls to understand their bodies and rid themselves of the fear and cultural based shame around menstruation.

As we prepare for our 1 year Asani anniversary, we are humbled by all that we have accomplished this year with your support and hope that you will stay with us on our journey as we continue to spread Asani’s message in new communities throughout the year to come.

Thank you for being a part of our team! 

Sincerely,

Tess 

The new machine in action
The new machine in action
New Asani packaging with educational graphics
New Asani packaging with educational graphics
Yati and Mittal: Desai Foundation India Team
Yati and Mittal: Desai Foundation India Team

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Organization Information

The Desai Foundation

Location: Bedford, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DesaiFoundation
Project Leader:
Megha Desai
Burlington, MA United States
$20,462 raised of $25,000 goal
 
353 donations
$4,538 to go
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