Spreading menstrual hygiene with home-made pads

Based on inputs by Shahid K

To spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and use of safer sanitary pads, Madurai’s T Kannamma, a homemaker from Iyer Bungalows, began making cotton sanitary napkins as an alternative to non-biodegradable pads that can have side-effects.

The 42-year-old 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 used as the main absorbent.

A typical napkin has an outer layer 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 under layer made of paper canvas sheet to give stiffness. “Everyone has unique period. So, the main focus for me was to reach out to customers directly with more of a service motive. I always gave them a trial period to find out their needs. When I interacted with them, many had doubts and this initiated a dialogue. Especially those with menstrual problems were looking for alternative and safer products,” said Kannamma who is helped by her sister S Radha and Sumathi R in her endeavour.

What makes these napkins preferable is the use of neem, aloe vera and tirphala powder (a blend of herbs) as anti-biotic agents. Their presence alleviates the foul odour of menstrual blood.

“I, soon, started creating awareness about menstrual hygiene in schools because that is where change can happen. There, I learnt how children were struggling. Many are unable to use regular pads because of discomfort. Some children used cloths or took leave during their period,” added Kannamma. With feedbacks from students, Kannamma is trying to turn the napkins further comfortable. The napkins are also safe to be disposed of by burning.

The product comes in three sizes XL, XXL, and XXXL, and cost 150, 160 and 180 for a pack of six. Orders can be placed via calls or WhatsApp.

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