Overlooking menstrual hygiene has seeped well into the 21st century, like a hazy parallel world afar from these times of development. Carrying the torch of hope and slaying the dragons of ignorance and age-old menstrual practices, Project Aarogya led by the students of SRCC has come a long way in connecting dreams with reality. This multifaceted venture under Connecting Dreams Foundation, social entrepreneurship society, has worked wonders.
The story began with students identifying the grim state of menstrual know-how and the number of potential health issues breeding as a consequence. For 4 in 10 Indian women, something as basic as a sanitary napkin remains a far-cry. The situation was worse in rural and slum areas. Something concrete needed to be done urgently.
Menstrual hygiene and women empowerment form the two pillars of the project, with sustainability infused in its core. The venture washes away menstrual health stigmas in slums and other areas by its golden trio: Awareness, Affordability, and Accessibility. Awareness, by imparting basic menstrual health practices through street plays and engaging camps. Affordability, by rendering low-priced, high-quality sanitary napkins to the have-nots. Availability, by creating women entrepreneurs who carry napkins door to door.
The regular supply chain model via local level women entrepreneurs is also another pillar whereby Aarogya bridges the gap of inaccessibility of sanitary napkins and ties up with local women to sell pads and promote their usage, thus crafting entrepreneurs.
The profits generated flow back to these strong-hearted women. A raging social cause interweaved with entrepreneurial spirit helped it stay afloat even during the testing lockdown phase. “I see a change, not just in me, but in the whole community. A change within us, for us, a change towards better health and hygiene.”, says Ganga Di, their first-ever entrepreneur ‘didi’, her head held high in pride.
Currently operating in regions of Delhi, NCR Region, and Uttar Pradesh, the results have been as exceptional as the efforts. Aarogya has made a mark by creating more than 10 women entrepreneurs, touched 60000+ lives, and changed thousands of mindsets in a mere span of 3 years. With every sanitary napkin reaching the rightful hands, Aarogya is changing the world in ways unimaginable.
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