Misconceptions about menstruation, rampant myths and the abysmal levels of menstrual hygiene exist among the rural women. Feba Peter from Bengaluru has started an initiative for the women by providing them sanitary and maternity napkins. She has earlier worked in different NGO’s in fields like child education, human rights and menstrual hygiene.
“I always wanted to do something which would have a social impact. I read the story of a man who invented a small scale machine making sanitary napkins for rural women. I was excited to work with the same model. I spent three and a half years researching and figuring out a plan but realised that the machines were breaking down. There was no constant supply of raw materials. Women running the unit lack necessary skills to run a manufacturing unit. That is when I took over the same model, rectified the errors and now I am running the same,” says Feba, the 28-year-old founder of Diva Enterprise.
The sanitary napkins are made manually by the rural women who also distribute and market it. She says, “Initially the women lacked confidence as they did not understand how the model works. The rural women have no idea about sanitary napkins unlike their urban counterparts. They use conventional ways of handling menstrual hygiene. A need for sensitisation regarding hygiene is more important both for men and women.”
She further adds saying, “I am planning to collaborate with the small manufacturing units in Dadar. I am also reaching out to the hospitals and getting bulk orders for maternity napkins. Currently, I received 60,000 orders from West Bengal. This is a big achievement for us because it will provide employment opportunities for the rural women. I am concentrating more keen on rural development and don’t want to compete with the urban market”.
The response has been good so far for Feba and she has aimed to expand her venture. “Right now, I am figuring out raw materials to manufacture eco-friendly products. We are also collaborating with the BASF India for eco-friendly raw materials. My aim is to provide better job opportunities to make women financially independent and reaching out to our village girls with good sanitary products,” concludes Feba....