Ms. Lakshmy Das and Ms. Pooja Gangadharan, founders of Maanushi Foundation have an interesting story about how they worked to build a voluntary collective to promote awareness on menstrual hygiene & health in Kumily. The duo was deeply passionate about the environment and how they could live their lives as gently as possible. But their own menstrual health practices were quite in the opposite direction,- a thought that sparked everything that followed.
Maanushi was not formed as a legal entity in the first place. The founders underwent training from Eco Femme to be Menstrual Health Management facilitators and went about creating awareness about sustainable period products and period positivity in the rural communities in and around Kumily. But very soon, the work gained momentum and led to the formation of a Registered Society under the name Maanushi Foundation.
Initially, the foundation only conducted MHM sessions for young girls in the community- a project through which they reached out to over 200 young girls in a span of three months. In the next step, the foundation gave birth to a platform that helped women to market their homemade products through an online platform. And in 2022, the foundation takes pride in securing a project to distribute reusable cloth pads to 600 rural women and over 1000 young girls from Adeeb and Shafeena Foundation.
The math of this is- one menstruator generates about 140kg of plastic waste during their menstruating years, so in one year, by reaching out to 1600 menstruators, we would have prevented about 4800 kg of plastic waste from reaching landfill, and in the big picture, about 2,24,000 kg of plastic waste from reaching the landfill with one year’s activities.– Pooja Gangadharan, Co-Founder and Vice President