Arunachalam Muruganantham Curated
Social entrepreneur,Founder, Jayaashree Industr...
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How much has your innovation helped in creating more menstrual hygiene awareness in India?
What is your business strategy to market your sanitary napkins?
Why did you start the sanitary napkin revolution in India?
How did you become a visiting professor and guest lecturer in the different IIMs? What is your aim in life?
Why are you giving your low cost sanitary napkin making machines to the rural parts of India?
Why didn't you use IPR rights to make maximum profits from your innovation?
How did you get the patent right of your low cost sanitary napkin making machine?
What are the hurdles that you had to face while making the low cost sanitary napkins?
How did you get feedbacks for your low cost sanitary napkins?
How did you come across the idea of making low cost sanitary napkins?
How was your life before you became social entrepreneur?
Your organisation runs as non-profit by partnering with SHGs (Self-Help-Groups). After achieving success in your venture, didn’t the idea of monetising ever occur to you?
My product is targeted towards rural women. I don’t have any plans to make money for myself. All I wish to do is empower rural women in our country. I shall continue working with Self Help Groups in order to provide low-cost sanitary pads to the women in remote areas and villages.
You have given guest lectures at IIMs and IITs. How do you see the prospects for today’s youth in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship?
There are two kinds of students. Those who study and work to survive, while others who want to be achievers. Most of the students whom I have lectured were inquisitive to learn and contribute towards my vision. So, the youth who want to achieve in life can do a lot for society.
From where did you source the raw materials for your innovation?
It was a very long and tiresome process. After a two-and-a-half years long research I found out that the commercial pads used cellulose fibres derived from pine bark and wood pulp. I contacted many companies who could help me with my innovation. I contacted a US-based company called Universal Paper and lied to them that I was a rich man. Somehow, after knowing about my vision, they got interested in partnering with me.
How did you get the idea of devising a low-cost machine to manufacture sanitary pads in your village?
The idea came from my wife since in our village women cannot afford to buy sanitary pads. When I asked my wife she told me we would have to cut down half of our milk budget to buy sanitary pads. Moreover, while raw materials for sanitary pads cost 10 paise, the end product was sold for 40 times that price. So, I decided to create it on my own. Initially, I asked my wife and sisters to volunteer for me but they refused as menstruation is still considered a taboo in our culture. Women in our country’s rural areas use filthy rags and newspapers during their periods. Therefore, I decided to wear a sanitary pad myself for a week. I experienced the period menstruation as I attached the pad to a bladder with animal blood. I did it for my wife and the women in our community who have to suffer the unhygienic stage due to social taboos and non-affordability. Later, I also distributed my products free of cost to women students at a medical college. This creation is a part of my own personal journey for the females in my family and community in order to provide them with a hygienic and healthy life during periods.