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Periodically Nov 2017 - Pads for Sisters!
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Dear friends, welcome to our latest issue of Periodically.


Today we are putting the spotlight on our less well known programme - Pads for Sisters - which works with women from rural, tribal or other economically disadvantaged communities in India who cannot afford our commercially priced pads but still want to switch to sustainable menstrual practices.


Read on to learn more about our current work in this programme, our partners and more!


Eco Femme, Roots collective and Zanskar Adventure Point in Ladakh

Kathy and Nikethana visited Ladakh in Northern India in July, to look at the situations women face there with regards to managing menstruation, traditions practiced and products used.

Read all about the journey and the findings over on our blog.


Nikethana gives a session on sustainable menstuation to women in Testa, Ladakh.

Sustainable Livelihood Institute

 

SLI is a long-term partner of our Pads for Sisters programme where we conduct menstrual education sessions as part of their Wellness Consultant Training programme. This unique programme is designed for selected women from  different districts of Tamil Nadu to receive livelihood development support.
They are aspiring beauticians or salon therapists from villages who are looking to broaden their knowledge & skills to include health & hygiene as well as the use of traditional knowledge & herbal products. They are also given valuable training in business development.

Our sessions during the wellness consultant training involves biology of menstruation, menstrual products, sharing of menarche stories, cyclical nature of female bodies & exploration of different cultural aspects such as menstruation related customs and rituals. Yoga postures that help in alleviating menstrual discomfort as well as local herbs that can be used for enhancing menstrual health are also part of the program.

We hope to work with these women to trial our rural entrepreneurship model where they might be able to sell subsidised pads as part of their businesses in their respective village.

 

         
                    Lakshmi showing the phases of the menstrual cycle at a session in SLI
Eco Femme and the Tibetan community

Eco Femme has been incubating a strong relationship with the Tibetan community in India with ambassadors such as Kalsang Dolma & Pema Llamo reaching school girls & nuns through our Pads for Sisters programme.

With exciting developments in this relationship emerging, Nikethana interviewed Kalsang & Pema on this work, it's significance & challenges in the Tibetan context over on our blog...
Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the wind with mountains in the background

Pads for Sisters in the local area

Our Pads for Sisters coordinator & facilitator, Lakshmi, has been giving direct educational sessions in & around Auroville.

In 2016-17, sessions were conducted for local rural women working in Auroville units, Naturellement, Quiet, Marc’s Coffee, Dreamers Café, Aurospirul, Auroville Health Centre & Pitchandikulam outreach.


In Pondicherry, a session was conducted at Eat My Cake, a café and women’s empowerment project.

Pads for Sisters coordinator and facilitator, Lakshmi, giving sessions at Marc's Coffee and Eat My Cake


This year, 520 pads were distributed locally at a subsidised rate!

If you would like us to give a session/subsidise pads for women at your Auroville based unit, contact Lakshmi at lakshmi@ecofemme.org for more details.

 
We look forward to working with you!

Pad Tags!
 

If you live in India, be on the lookout for our new Pad Tags on our packaging. These give details and a link to our Pads for Sisters page.

All your purchases directly benefit our Pads for Sisters programme!

 

Pads for Sisters targets

Our target for April 2017 - March 2018 is 24,000 pads!


This includes 12,000 subsidised pads that are available to the women to buy directly for INR 50 and 12,000 pads available to organisations to buy at the cost price of INR 120.
 

                      

 


So far we have distributed 9,475 subsidised pads since April 2017. 

Our Pads for Sisters coordinator, Lakshmi, shares inspiration from the field:
 
"In 2016, as part of a research project, I interviewed long term rural users of Eco Femme pads. I was very touched by one woman who shared with me that she used to free flow until she found our belt-model pads & this has given her the power to move around (even go out!) during her periods. She keeps the pads like a treasure even after 3 years of use. This touched me very much and made me realise the deep impact this work can have on women. And this story inspires me to continue this work."


In August 2017, Nikethana visited our Pads for Sisters partner – the Christian Hospital Bissumcuttack (CHB) in Odisha.  

The hospital is a crucial, unique and strategically significant institution for South Odisha, located in the small town of Bissamcuttack in the hill district of Rayagada, Odisha.

The people of this region are mostly from the Adivasi Community (a tribal, indigenous people here in India)  with 62% belonging to the Kondh Tribe & 16% belonging to the Dalit Community. The needs of this area are enormous. The hospital’s work has multiple outreach activites – reaching vulnerable populations though health care, training through health care and education for the local children.


They now aim to include  Eco Femme pads as part of the nursing students' welcome kit in the beginning of their training, establishing an institutional shift in supporting reusable over disposable menstrual options.

Shikha & Stella, have led this effort at a time when there is an increasing shift from the traditional cloth to disposable sanitary napkins. Concerned with both this waste & the impact of disposable pads on women’s health, these women have continued to encourage & support the shift back towards sustainable menstrual options.

CHB has been a Pads for Sisters partner since 2016 with the relationship starting with reaching out to doctors & nursing staff at the hospital, the community health workers & teachers in the field, students training in house at the hospital and other tribal women through their outreach activities.



Nursing students receiving a session on sustainable menstruation

A HUGE thank you to the following organisations partnering with us   - we couldn't do this without you!
 

Yardi, Pune



Amirtha Enterprises & Pitchandikulam Outreach, Nadukuppam, Tamil Nadu




Christian Hospital Bissumcuttack, Odisha


Keystone Foundation, Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu



Changancherry Social Service Society, Kerala


Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI), Auroville
 
Organic India Foundation, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Thanks to the following individuals working with us through Pads for Sisters - your support & dedication is truly appreciated:

Kalsang Dolma, Auroville
Pema Lhamo, Ladakh
Dr. Abirami Prakash, Kerela
Paripooranam, Thiruvanamalai

 
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Partnership in development:
We're also look forward to further building and developing our P4S relationship in the coming months with the following organisations and individuals:
 
University of British Columbia, Spiti Valley
India Hikes, Bangalore, Karnataka
Aam Aadhmi Party (AAP) Kerela
People’s Service Society Palakkad (PPSP), Kerela
Aga Khan Foundation, Delhi
Central Tibetan Adminisatration, Dharamsala, HP
Shobana Chandrasekar for "Make Ooty Beautiful" project, Tamil Nadu
Shipra Agarwal, Bangalore

 
If you are an individual or part of an organisation that is interested in sourcing our subsidised washable cloth pads for women and/or girls who could not otherwise afford them, contact our Pads for Sisters coordinator Lakshmi:
lakshmi@ecofemme.org

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