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Social outfits see silver lining in cyclonic cloud

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The demand for sanitary napkins in rural parts of the cyclone-hit delta districts is a strong reflection of menstrual hygiene, according to social organisations involved in distribution of relief materials.

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, the Tamil Nadu Science Forum, and Tiruchi Innovative Ladies Union Needlework Association(TILUNA) are some of the organisations that are involved in distribution of several thousands of sanitary napkins over the last few days to the women in displaced families following the cyclone Gaja.

Due to the dampness caused by the cyclone followed by rainfall, women in the rural parts had conveyed the dire requirement of napkins to the volunteers of the service organisations.

“We have distributed the sanitary napkins to women in Kodiakadu, Vellapallam and a few other villages surrounding Kodiakarai and Vedaranyam. Our team has plans to cover some villages in Thiruthuraipoondi shortly,” Velvizhi, volunteer of M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation said.

On Thursday, the Secretary of TILUNA Krishnaveni handed over 200 packets of sanitary napkins, each containing 16 pieces, to rural women in Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts.

Since the access of people to clean water has been limited after the cyclone, the sanitary napkins being distributed will be of immense utility to women, R. Sujatha, an Chennai-based expert in menstrual hygiene, said.

About 50,000 sanitary napkins provided by the Shri Cheema Foundation, an initiative in corporate social responsibility by TVS Electronics Ltd, were routed to the rural women through the service organisations. The Tamil Nadu Sanitary Napkin Federation had also donated napkins in large number

“We are also trying to mobilise disposable panties and belt napkins suiting elderly women for distribution in cyclone-hit area,” Ms. Sujatha said.

The awareness on the safety and utility of sanitary napkins, in fact, began during the phase of post-tsunami rehabilitation in 2004. Since then, the women have been using the napkins.

Fortunately for them, quality napkins were being manufactured by women self-help groups, who were able to sell the napkins for as low as Rs. 2 per piece, the volunteers say.

In view of the demand in the cyclone-hit areas, the Women Entrepreneur Association of Tamil Nadu (WEAT) has involved self-help groups and micro enterprises to manufacture the required extent of sanitary napkins on a cost to cost basis, N. Manimekalai, Association Advisor, said.

In view of the demand, we have involved self-help groups and micro enterprises to manufacture the required extent of sanitary napkins,

N. Manimekalai

Women Entrepreneur Association of TN

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