S.H.E. SOCIETY is a 22 year old philanthropic organisation, based in Amritsar, India, providing succour to the needy. In their choice of menstrual products, women and girls have the chance to make a difference to the disturbance in ecological system caused by humans. By opting for a reusable menstrual product, or a disposable one which does not contain plastic, bleaches or dyes, a lower environment impact can be achieved.
We are committed to offering tips for adapting to reusable pads and menstrual health education that is responsive to the need of diverse populations through EcoShe facilitators. Our facilitators concentrate on making females learn the difference between safe and unsafe practices rather than on their opinion of a particular belief or practice, with the help of fun filled and casual interactions. As a result, each female or women shares her own experiences, symptoms, fears or difficulties related to menstruation without feeling shy or alone. A pledge is made at the end of the session “I promise to speak out about menstruation and share what I have learned with at least one person”.
"ECOSHE - THE REUSABLE PAD AFFECT" is a global women’s empowerment initiative rising from rural India and eventually reaching women around the world. We are committed to offering menstrual health education that is responsive to the needs of diverse populations. We promote and revitalise menstrual practices that are healthy, dignified, affordable and eco-positive.
OUR MISSION: To trigger a major shift in the Menstrual Health Management space resulting in a more clean and healthy environment. We aim to live in a transformed world in which girls and women are:
Equipped with knowledge, resource and skills to live in harmony with their bodies;
Honoured and dignified;
Free from shame and operation.
EcoShe Menstrual Health Education curriculum is a two hour’s program which helps the girls and women to explore the "so called taboo topic" of menstruation in a safe environment which is in reality a daunting task, especially in a world where this natural process is experienced differently by 355 Million women around the world, depending on the diverse cultural and religious beliefs and practices.
WHAT WE DO?
Environment: We promote two types of reusable pads as an eco-friendly alternative to disposable products. There are healthy for us as well as our planet.
Livelihood: Our cloth pads are produced by a women’s group in India and ethically traded across the globe to provide a genuine income generation opportunity for women from underprivileged sector.
Education: We work with schools, colleges, institutions and villages to deliver educational programs that foster a healthy, responsible and dignified menstrual experience for women throughout rural India in general, and underprivileged sector in particular.
CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS: We are celebrating womanhood by breaking the taboos or myths related to menstruation. Why is it still a taboo? The campaign aims to discuss and break menstruation related myths prevalent in our society which have potentially harmful implication. We liberally support caves like AIDS or infant mortality prevention, but equally important issues like female hygiene and sanitation attract minimal attention.
It’s sad but menstruation is still a taboo in our society. There are still areas where the girls have no access to sanitary pads and they enjoy studding but their education is wholly subject to their cycle. Usually, lessons on periods are imparted to girls by their mother, who, unfortunately also pass on superstition, stigma and fear surrounding the natural bodily process. It’s not a disease and they need not be ashamed of it.
We continue to target thousands of women through various and a vast network of our ambassadors and collaborators. It has been found that in rural areas, only 30% of females are using sanitary pads whereas the other 70% find them very costly, which is indeed sad and alarming. It’s sad that we are living in a society where tradition takes over essentiality.
Products like sindoor and chewing gum are tax free but sanitary pads have not been deemed tax exemptible. It's actually infuriating enough that such a basic necessity has been originally deemed a luxury product, and taxed, quite inexcusably, at 14.5 percent! Now, according to the new goods and services tax rates, the GST council has declared the rates for certain products. Of those, sanitary pads, towels, and tampons were declared taxable at 12 percent (the second lowest tax slab, the first being 5 percent). However, items like sindoor, bangles and bindis (nowhere close to as crucial in a well-being sense) were declared to be tax free.
It has been found that the attitude of the school aged girls towards menstruation health in rural area is “one of the most effective ways to deal with menstruation is to go home” just because of girls and women’s lack of access to affordable menstrual pads.
Donating pads is certainly not a sustainable solution, especially when it reaches only a fraction of women and girls. Female sanitation is not just a body issue. We need to get our hands dirty, so to speak with some of the less fashionable development issues. Female hygiene should be at the top of the list. It means getting people to talk openly about menstrual health.
“Unhygienic menstrual management and the synthetic pads being used have cellulose which may produce dioxins that might lead to cancer, which is the prime reason for genital cancer and one out of ten women die due to this”, says activist Jeevan Jyot.
We strongly opine that investment in projects that directly support women and girls in essential to reducing poverty, as the greatest return comes from investing in girls and women. When they are educated, they drive development with their families, communities and a nation.
Environmental damage caused by non-biodegradable disposable pads.
Average disposable sanitary napkins waste per woman per lifetime is 150 kilogram.
Estimated disposable waste generated in India on 100% adoption: 355 million women* = 53.25 Billion kilogram.
Non-biodegradable waste left behind per reusable per year = 16 gram.
Estimated waste using reusable per woman per lifetime** = 1.12 kilogram.
Estimated Waste created by reusable in India at 100% adoption – 355 million women*** = 0.40 kilogram.
* 355 Million x 150 kg = 53.25 Billion
** 16 gram x 2 pcs x 35 Years
*** 355 Million x 1.12 kg = 0.40 Billion
EcoShe also creates awareness about the harmful implication of using disposable menstrual products on our health and the environment. The pads we use are 90% plastic; hence a major cause of genital cancer and a single pad takes 500 - 800 years to decompose! One disposable pad is equal to 4 plastic bags! A healthy alternative under project EcoShe is the Reusable pads, as described below.
REUSABLE CLOTH PADS: WHY MAKE THE SWITCH?
Ten types of pads available as per the requirement and specification.
All product are made of cotton flannel and ultra-absorbent, unbleached cotton flannel layers inside, that makes it leak proof.
Washable cloth pad to save money: They are cost effective as they can last up to 3 years.
Washable cloth pad for the Earth: They are eco-friendly.
Washable cloth pad for your health: They are more healthy as there is no risk of infection and irritation because of lack of synthetic ingredients like chlorine, dioxin, fragrances.
Washable cloth pad to empower women: Livelihood, Education, Dignity and Unity;
Carry and store pads when not in use in a clean dried pads.
SAAFKINS: The world’s first and only permanent disinfectant in the form of the textile. Saafkins by Livinguard has been tested and certified by laboratories across the world to make the world’s first washable, reusable, bacteria/yeast killing, 85% biodegradable sanitary napkins. Hence they non-toxic for skin context.
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