ABOUT JAYAASHREE INDUSTRIES
One Indian social entrepreneur has given women from low income groups in India dignity, by making it possible for them to afford to buy sanitary towels and provide them with an income at the same time. Arunachalam Murugananthamis the person who changed things. From a poor background in the South of India, he created the world’s first low-cost machine to produce sanitary towels. According to a report by market research group AC Nielsen, “Sanitary Protection: Every Woman’s Health Right”, 88% of women in India are driven to use ashes, newspapers, sand husks and dried leaves during their periods. As a result of these unhygienic practices, more than 70% of women suffer from reproductive tract infections, increasing the risk of contracting associated cancers.
Muruganantham re-engineered a sanitary machine, and in 2006 it won the award for the best innovation for the betterment of society from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai. Plus, he also received an Indian presidential award for innovation. Currently more than 1300 machines made by his start-up company, Jayaashree Industries, are installed across 27 states in India and seven other countries.. This social entrepreneur sells his low cost machines directly to rural women through the support of bank loans and not-for-profit organisations. A machine operator can learn the entire towel-making process in three hours and then employ three others to help with processing and distribution.
Builds a viable and sustainable enterprise that can be run efficiently by the stakeholders at the grassroots.
Delivers an essential commodity – the sanitary napkin – to poor women at affordable rates without compromising on the raw material used (which is not the unviable cotton) or quality of the product as compared to the multinationals. This is an extremely crucial development and can be viewed as a breakthrough in positive social engineering.
Reduces the players involved in the supply chain – the third person to handle the product (from its inception) is the consumer.
Thereby makes optimal use of the micro-credit generated by a community.
The technology used is simple and non-chemical. In fact, the machine uses purely mechanical processes such as grinding and de-fibration, pressing and sealing to convert the raw material – high-quality pine wood pulp – into a napkin.
Overall, the sanitary napkin-making machine is Muruganantham’s first attempt at harnessing technology for the benefit of the underprivileged. Once the organization achieves its current goals to expand and propagate its invention, it would refocus to its core competency – inventing the Next Big Thing.
Small is Beautiful
One sentence best describes About the idea?
Sanitary napkins produced in a “Small is Beautiful” model can deliver livelihood, hygiene and dignity to poor women, and help them strengthen society.
What problem or issue does the idea address?
Millions of women around the world cannot afford sanitary napkins, mainly because they’re manufactured using expensive machinery and thus priced at a premium. Such women resort to an older and cheaper alternative – a piece of cloth or rag. This is an unhygienic alternative and can cause vaginal infections, skin irritations and embarrassing stains in public. But by reducing the unit price of a napkin, Muruganantham’s model enables women to switch over to napkins – dignity must never be unaffordable.
A light-weight and voluminous product like the sanitary napkin introduces high transportation cost. This model allows local production and thus solves the problem.
Muruganantham’s model addresses the issue of rampant unemployment amongst the poor in rural, urban and semi-urban areas of all developing nations.
Overall, Muruganantham’s model offers livelihood, hygiene, dignity and empowerment to women all over the world. And it does so using a sustainable business framework.
Muruganantham has obtained a patent for his innovation Over 225 such machines have been delivered which are now functioning in 14 states of India also he is getting enquiry by various countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya Uganda, Nepal and Bangladesh, but he does not want to make it a commercial affair though only the technology would be passed on to them.