Rotary launches Project Sumitra – Towards Use of Sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Products

Rotary launches Project Sumitra - Towards Use of Sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Products
Jahnavi Reddy & Shreya Chadalavada of Bum Print Baby one of the implementation partners of the project Sumitra seen at the launch of Project Sumitra

Targeting Better Health, Environment & Livelihoods for Women On Girl Child Empowerment Day

A Women ends up using 6000 – 7000 disposable sanitary pads over her menstrual life: Shreya Chadalavada, Founder of Bum Print Baby

Hyderabad, October 18, 2021: The Rotary Club of Hyderabad Deccan (RCHD), along with partner clubs launched Project Sumitra in the city on Sunday evening.   The project is aimed towards encouraging and facilitating use of sustainable menstrual hygiene product.  The project targets better health, environment and livelihoods. The project was announced on the eve of Girl Child Empowerment Day observed by Rotary International District 3150.

Speaking on the occasion Shreya Chadalavada, Founder of Bum Print Baby (a reusable baby diaper brand) and one of the implementation partners for the project Sumitra by Rotary Club of Hyderabad Deccan noted that a Women ends up using 6000 – 7000 disposable sanitary pads/ 16 sets of reusable sanitary pads/ 3-4 menstrual cups over her menstrual life.

Rotarian Sharath Choudary, District co-chair, Girl Child Empowerment stated that ‘every women on earth will leave behind twice her own weight in terms of menstrual waste across her reproductive life cycle’ while addressing the gathering. He also noted that sanitary waste constitutes to a large percentage of hazardous waste.

Rotarian Sailesh Gumidelli, Assistant Governor of Rotary district 3150, unveiled the banner of Project Sumitra. He shared that the project Sumitra was impactful in touching areas such as Hygeine, Environment, and girl empowerment which are a few key focus areas of Rotary.

Under this project, Rotary District 3150 to get manufactured two products—01. Re-usable Cloth Sanitary Pads and 02. Sanitary cups.  Both are biodegradable products.  The launch will be announced in two functions to be held simultaneously on Sunday at Hyderabad Solitaire Global Schools, Attapur Branch, Sri Sai Janachaithanya Colony, Near Sunrise Valley, Upparpally, and also in Guntur. 

The Project Sumitra aims to set up local production where local women will manufacture cloth pads.

The project aims to crash the supply chain costs to make safe and comfortable menstrual cups available at an affordable price. Train, equip and deploy trained Self-Help Groups to evangelise, teach & sell / distribute these products in local communities.

Made from organic and chemical free fabrics, reusable sanitary pads are safe and easy to use. Menstrual cups are made from 100% medical grade silicone and do not affect body’s PH while reducing risk of infection. Reusable products last for years and reduce the amount of landfill waste generated. Cloth pads are also easily compostable. Convenience and low costs of reusable products can also reduce period truancy in schools, colleges & workforce. Disposable products provide no benefit to the bottom of the pyramid – Reusable products are made and sold by women groups and distributed in the community by women and evangelists who become advisors. This network, built on personal connections and trust, is a powerful engine for future health and habit improvement initiatives.

It is a project of Rotary District 3150.  The Rotary District along with the clubs will mobile self-help groups, train them to manufacture these sustainable products in mass scale and will also create employment for them in the process.

Managing menstrual waste is a mammoth task.  India has close to 12.3 billion disposble sanitary napkins to be taken care of every year.  And majority of them are not biodegradable or compostable.

Of 336 million menstruating women in India, about 36% use single use disposable sanitary napkins – 12.3 billion pads annually – producing enormous menstrual waste. Bangalore, for example, alone produces approximately 90,000 kgs of sanitary waste per day. Indians pour Rs. 17,000 Cr annually on this environmentally terrible “necessity”. Importantly, disposable products are a veritable cornucopia of plastic – they cannot be recycled or reused, get dumped in landfills and will take 100’s of years to degrade and if burnt produce toxic dioxins & furans. Chemicals present in disposable napkins cause infections, rashes, and other health problems. They are also significantly costly.