Amma celebrates International Women’s Day through the education of menstrual health
March 8, 2018 – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
At her program in Mumbai, India today, Amma brought attention to the needs of women and girls to learn proper health practices for their periods. She gave reusable cloth pads to young women to show an option for menstrual care that is also much less harmful to the environment than plastic pads.
Plastic pads, the most used product around the world, can in some cases be made up of about 90% plastic—containing as much as four supermarket bags. The average woman is estimated to use, and throw away, in excess of 10,000 of these in her menstrual lifetime.
Joining Amma in the distribution was Anjali Menon, the only woman film director in Kerala’s Malayalam film industry.
“I am overwhelmed with Ammaji’s national & international charitable activities, especially women empowerment through self-help groups," Menon shared. "Someone asked Amma, 'What is the need for today?' Amma’s answer was Matrutvam—motherhood. It’s not about being a lady, but to envelope the world with your love.”
When Amma started Amrita SeRVe in 2013, her goal was to adopt 101 rural villages throughout India in order to make them role models of independence and sustainability. In her holistic vision, Amma saw women’s empowerment, healthcare, and environmental sustainability as a vital part of the solution.
Knowing that many women in these villages were resorting to unsafe and unhygienic ways to deal with their monthly cycles, Amma suggested that the Amrita SeRVe team come up with a solution—a solution for women by women.
The result is the introduction of Saukhyam—a reusable cloth pad made with natural materials that is practical, and cost-effective. The pads are made by women’s self-help groups in rural India.
After several prototypes were presented to her, Amma came up with a design for a pad that the women would actually use. Made from cotton cloth and banana fibre inserts, Saukhyam sanitary napkins are environmentally friendly, low-cost, safe and hygienic.
The name Saukhyam, meaning happiness and well-being, was chosen for these reusable pads because menstruation has been ignored or shamed for so long. It is women who give birth to every human being, and menstruation makes that cycle of life possible. These beautiful reusable pads support women in celebrating that life cycle and honoring its place for humanity.
The Saukhyam campaign is making these reusable pads available not only to women in India, but also to women worldwide.