In a bid to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and use of sanitary pads among underprivileged women, Madurai's T Kannama started a business of producing cotton sanitary napkins as an alternative to non-biodegradable pads that have side-effects.
"I wanted to produce sanitary napkins that do not cause health problems. This is 100 percent pure cotton napkin made using surgical cotton and fig cotton. No chemicals are used," said Kannama, a 42-year-old homemaker from Iyer Bungalows, Tamil Nadu.
The homemaker's 'Paruthi Pen Mooligai Napkin' is a fully cotton-based disposable sanitary napkin that lasts for up to 4-6 hours with surgical cotton as the main absorbent.
What makes the napkin preferable is the use of neem, aloe vera and Triphala powder which contains antibacterial properties. Their presence alleviates the foul smell of menstrual blood.
A napkin is comprised of various layers. The outer layer is made of pure cotton cloth, a second additional layer of fine pure cotton cloth, a third surgical cotton absorbent layer with anti-biotic agents, a cloth canvas as the fourth layer and a final underlayer made of paper canvas sheet to give stiffness.
She emphasized that nature-friendly sanitary napkins are as important as food and water for a woman.
She opined, "I wanted to produce sanitary napkins that do not cause health problems. This is 100 percent pure cotton napkin made using surgical cotton and fig cotton. No chemicals are used."
"I was interested in knowing about herbs. As my interest grew, I researched about it and thought to do something on menstrual hygiene. I started creating awareness in school among students about menstrual hygiene and learned how girl students are struggling as they use cloth. Some did not even attend school during their period days as they could not afford regular pads," Kannama said.
Kannama started the business of making affordable home-made pads after taking feedback from underprivileged women.