To ease access to sanitary napkins, vending machines are being installed in schools, colleges and in public places across West Bengal to empower women and create awareness about women’s health.
Currently, installed in Bhawanipore Education Society College in Kolkata, the ‘Vendigo’ machines will dispense affordable and high-quality sanitary pads (three for Rs.10) and help save time, embarrassment and money for members of the fairer sex in need.
The project is being executed by Robust Solution, a Kolkata-based start-up enterprise implementing the project for HLL Lifecare, a public sector undertaking under the administrative control of the union ministry of health and family welfare.
“We have got the required permits from the Bengal government and, gradually, we are extending the service to other districts. Both state-run as well as private institutions can install the automated devices,” said Raunak Sarawagi, founder of the start-up.
Sarawagi said the initiative is being carried out pan-India by different implementing agencies.
“We have got immense response from the leading educational institutes of our city. Our new product, sanitary napkin incinerator, burns the used napkins to ashes as disposal of used napkins is also one of the major issues affecting the environment… it’s smoke free and easy to use,” Sarawagi added.
Only 12 percent of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins, according to a 2011 AC Nielsen study.