Enabling Access through Low-cost Sanitary Pads: Jayashree Industries

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9 out of 10 women in India lack access to sanitary protection. Although, India has made remarkable technological advances, we continue to deny one of the most basic rights to the women in the country. What we need is a home-grown solution to mass produce low-cost sanitary pads without sacrificing on quality.

And we finally have it.

Jayashree Industries is a social enterprise started by Muruganantham that produces low-cost machines to manufacture sanitary pads. Here is an excerpt from a recent Guardian article:

Reclaiming the fibres into usable cellulose, Muruganantham discovered, required a machine costing more than £300,000. “I decided to make a simple version of this machine, to re-engineer it,” he says. It took him more than four years of trial and error to fabricate one in his workshop. Two years later, in 2006, his machine won the award for the best innovation for the betterment of society from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. And he was finally able to persuade his family to come back……

….Currently more than 600 machines made by his start-up company, Jayaashree Industries, are installed across 23 states in India. In spite of numerous offers, Muruganantham refuses to sell his innovation to the corporate world. “I didn’t take the money route because I saw my parents struggle for survival,” he explains. “I knew that this machine could provide a sustainable livelihood for many rural women.”

May be its about time that global multinationals took a cue from this grassroots innovators and aspired to bridge the affordability gap in sanitary protection.