The current debate on GST on Sanitary pads opens up an important issue. How about the women who are not able to afford disposable pads with or without GST of 12%? Don't they deserve a hygienic sanitary product? Then again, if we push affordable disposables as alternatives, what about the resultant environmental catastrophe?
Stonesoup Wings is Rs 835 and lasts 10 years while cheapest sanitary pads cost Rs 10000 in 10 years. And yet, 850 was not an amount that an underprivileged woman could afford to take out from her monthly budget to buy a menstrual cup. And hence the genesis of this program.
We at Stonesoup are taking up a special cup donation program for a key set of women of our city.The BBMP link workers - we have 360 in the city. They lead strenuous lives from going door to door building awareness about sanitation, segregation and promoting other sustainable practices. Given that their salaries are less than Rs 6,000/- p.m., in spite of awareness, very few actually bought even at a discount. When on the field, they have little or no access to clean water to wash and care for themselves, as well as time or privacy to change from soiled cloth during their periods. Our link workers need and deserve access to clean and hygienic sanitary products, without the hassle of changing and publicly disposing of used sanitary pads. And hence this program. The pilot was done in South Zone where Inner Wheel, Koramangala donated 20 cups and then we waited for results with bated breath. All of them are happy users now. Their friends want cups too!
How It Works:
For every cup donated by a donor, Stonesoup matches it with a cup. Mayor
Padmavati and Dr. Meenakshi Bharat formally launched it on 31st July during composting santhe. Ladies Circle North -14 donated 10 cups and Stonesoup matched it. 20 cups were donated to Link workers of Yehelanka who have been supporting composting santhe for months now. During Indira Nagar composting santhe, they donated two cups to the link workers associated with their ward. We are now looking for more organizations to come forward and support this.
Besides Bangalore, we have also launched Cup for Cup in Delhi with Suparnaa Chadda a media personality, who runs Women Endangered Initiative formed post Nirbhaya.
WE and Stonesoup conducted a feminine hygiene workshop in Patparganj and distributed cups to 70 women at Rs.10 and educated them about the long-term benefits of saving money, protecting health and environment.
Suparnaa Chadda is looking to raise funds for 1000 cups to donate them to women who live along Azadpur Railway tracks.