Kokernag , Mar 09: Keeping the stigma and taboo attached to menstrual hygiene at bay, a self help group (Alkaria SHG) in Narpura village of Kokernag in South Kashmir , have been manufacturing and distributing sanitary napkins across the area for the past many months. Besides, the group has been sensitizing women and creating awareness regarding the menstrual hygiene
The manufacturing and sale of sanitary napkins has become a source of livelihood for many women who are working under the Alkaria SHG.
"Menstrual hygiene is not a jinx. In this rural village of Anantnag district, the women have taken a pledge to create awareness regarding menstrual hygiene in the area and provide easily available options of hygiene to women," Ridwana Akhtar, president of the SHG said.
The group has taken the task to manufacture sanitary napkins, educate people about menstrual hygiene, and earn a decent living.
“ I will continue this mission by involving more and more females in my venture", Ridwana said.
On Thursday , Alkaria SHG was formally granted the first-ever Sanitary Pad Manufacturing Unit from NAB Foundation as part of efforts to promote menstrual hygiene awareness and entrepreneurship among women in rural areas by NABARD'
On this occasion, a gathering including a large number of women participants, was addressed by DC Anantnag Dr Basharat Qayoom,
During his address he said that there can't be a greater step towards women's empowerment than the SHGs producing and marketing their own products.
“The semi-manual project of the sanitary pad processing unit will ensure basic hygiene. Menstruation or periods were rarely discussed and are considered a taboo in society. Women's participation in today's inaugural menstruation hygiene programme is a step towards positive and empowerment,” DC said.
He said that the pads that will be manufactured here will be marketed throughout the district, and the concept of a processing unit will be replicated throughout the district.
"I am extremely grateful to NABARD for giving my group an opportunity to take up such a novel project in Anantnag district, Ridwana said.
This move is part of the “My Pad My Right”, a PAN India initiative launched by the NAB Foundation to promote menstrual hygiene awareness and entrepreneurship among women in rural areas.
The unit, granted to the Alkaria SHG, was jointly inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag and Chief General Manager NABARD at Narupora Kokernag.
The project was chosen for this Anantnag SHG throughout the valley, according to NABARD District Development Manager, Anantnag, Rouf Zargar.
“The NAB Foundation and its parent organisation, NABARD, are constantly coming up with these innovative and pilot projects. This Alkaria SHG will manufacture the sanitary pads and distribute them to their members, who will then sell them to others and earn a living - a step towards women empowerment,” he explained.