Right from his school days in West Bengal, Jaydeep Mandal (30) was obsessed with innovations. He envisioned bringing about innovative solutions to daily-life problems by using minimum resources. An entrepreneur at heart, he aimed to bring grass-root innovations to the market and monetise them. Mandal has neatly tied up all his objectives into Aakar Innovations, a social enterprise which manufactures Anandi sanitary napkins — the only 100% biodegradable sanitary napkins in the country.
This will make periods suck a lot less for a lot of girls.
When a customer orders a month’s supply of tampons from menstrual hygiene company Cora, the company gives girls in need in India to get a month’s supply of sustainable pads, according to the website. In India, an estimated 70 percent of women can’t afford sanitary napkins, according to a 2011 study. And almost one in four Indian girls drop out of school altogether once they start menstruating.
A month ago, a soiled sanitary napkin left in a Kochi factory bathroom set in motion a chain of events that few could have foreseen. Over 40 women employees of the factory were strip-searched by two female supervisors to find out who the ‘culprit’ was. And when the factory manager refused to take action against the supervisors, a group decided to protest by mailing sanitary napkins (used or unused) to the factory, as part of a campaign titled ‘Red Alert: You’ve Got a Napkin’.