(A small unit of Women Self Help Group under the aegis of TCI Foundation)
Women in India have made a remarkable progress, improvements in basic democratic rights, strengthened legal systems and improved healthcare facilities among other things have made this transformation possible. But despite these advancements there are still many places where women lack access to basic healthcare, education and income generation.
A related issue to women is the importance of menstrual hygiene, an issue which has been insufficiently acknowledged in India and still considered a taboo topic in many parts of the country. But talking about menstrual hygiene is extremely important as it is critical to a woman’s health. Often ill-informed/misinformed about the importance and methods of maintaining menstrual hygiene, women become highly susceptible to infection and diseases like RTI (Reproductive Tract Infection).
The NFHS 2015-16 survey pegs the number for women using hygienic means of managing menstruation in India at only 48% in rural areas. Most women use unhealthy alternatives like cloth rags, sands or leaves. Thus, women in India still have to deal with the lack of a comfortable and dignified experience with menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
To address the above issue, TCI Foundation has launched Project ANTRANG – a unit to manufacture sanitary pads at village Jamhar District, Khunti, Jharkhand. TCI Foundation signed a technical MoU with PHD Chamber of Commerce to establish ANTRANG. The project was officially launched by Shri. D.P. Agarwal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Transport Corporation of India Limited on 5th April, 2019 at Jamhar. Speaking on the occasion Shri. Agarwal said, “I am confident and happy to see the rural women as entrepreneurs”.
TCI Foundation arranged the machines and raw material needed to manufacture the sanitary pads for a self-help group constituted by a group of local women. The members of this group were trained professionally to manufacture quality-controlled sanitary pads. These women are independently administering the project and selling the product and also creating menstrual hygiene awareness among women and adolescent girls in the area. The goal of the project is to address the dual purpose of economic empowerment for women and provide low-cost sanitary napkins to rural women and adolescent girls through, enterprise development of manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins. In a short duration of few months, Project Antrang was able to manufacture 7000 pads and 100% purchase orders have been received by the self-help group from the local community.