Even being the biggest democracy in the world, even a war cry being Bharat Mata ki Jai and being one of the big upcoming techno giants. A country where menstruation and sex is a taboo topic, where thousands of female miss out of their school or work because of menstruation period. But since the movie Pad Man released Feb 2018, things have changed a bit and people are open to talk and television commercial have removed filters from their scripts. That time we wrote a post Stains, Taboos and Luxuries and today this JoPad has indeed an interesting story.
JoPad is a reusable sanitary towel designed and manufactured by women in West Bengal. Women those were financially and socially struggling and were at high risk of human trafficking. The country is a hub of trafficking in Asia, reports say in every eight-minute a child goes missing in India.
Jo Langston, a United Kingdom resident, came to India in September 2018 and discovered that huge number of women in India do not have access to sanitary towels and as a result, they miss out their work and have health issues. Jo met a group of young women working in a small independently sewing house in West Bengal, in an area where every day they face the risk of human trafficking. By working, they were safe and were able to provide to the family. But many other women with low or no income couldn’t afford disposable sanitary pads and had to compromise with an unhygienic cloth. So she decided to do something about it.
After a few months, in January, she came back to West Bengal in that sewing unit with a suitcase of technical fibre and other material required. They kick start the project along with the help of Molly, a.k.a Shyamali Saha, the first sample batch came out good and loved by women.
This week I have been sampling reusable sanitary towels in a sewing unit made up of young women who are considered at high risk of being trafficked, and led by their wonderful trainer, Molly. The women love it and want to start production and create a market for them locally.Jo Langston
For the market research, they took the Jopads to the local train ladies compartment and Molly demonstrated and explained the product. People really loved and amazed by the product. Later they spend time sourcing fabrics i.e. PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), Bamboo cotton and microfleece fibre in India and some Research & development in perfecting the design.
Jo started crowdfunding on Just Giving to procure raw material for manufacturing of next batch of sanitary towels. And got a logo designed for JoPad to give a brand look that would help in selling and ultimately help these young girls to stay safe and provide to their families.
Krystyna Hewitt who is a graphic designer contributed her time and energy by designing this JoPad logo.
Molly and her team of young women in their sewing unit in West Bengal have successfully nailed the design and stitching of the JoPad washable sanitary towel.Jo Langston
JoPad has enabled young women in the sewing unit to earn for a living, provide for their families and keeping younger sibling safe from human trafficking. By subsidising they have made sure that every woman in need can purchase the JoPad, as opposed to commercially available options which are expensive and not affordable for these women.
Molly has visited many shelter houses where girls rescued from trafficking and former sex worker groups to give them an alternative to earn a living. Every JoPad they sale, they earn a respectful earning for themselves. JoPad is priced at around Rs 80 or 1 GBP, which is a very effective price compare to other commercially available products.
We wish Jo, Molly and team all the very best for their work.