SAUKHYAM MEANS HAPPINESS AND WELL BEING
We chose the name Saukhyam for our reusable pads because we believe menstruation has been undervalued and ignored for too long. Women give birth to every human being and menstruation makes that cycle possible. When you switch to our beautiful reusable pads, you are celebrating the life cycle and honoring your place in it.
Saukhyam Reusable Pads were honored with Most Innovative Product Award (2016) by the National Institute of Rural Development, India.
The project was lauded at UN Climate Change Conference (2018) in Poland for its sustainable financing mechanism.
In 2020, the Saukhyam team was recognized as the Social Enterprise of the Year for its "exceptional impact, clarity and growth of work dedicated to furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals" from the Women for India and Social Founder Network coalition.
Saukhyam Reusable Pads is a project of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. The Math is an NGO with consultative status to the UN's ECOSOC. It is led by Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, revered worldwide as a spiritual and humanitarian leader. When the Math adopted remote village clusters in 20 states of India in 2013, with the goal to transform them into role models of sustainable development, the foundation was laid for the pads project.
The National Family Health Survey (2015-16) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed that only 48.2% girls in the age group of 15-24 years used hygienic methods of protection during menstrual periods in rural India as compared to 77.5% in urban India. Further, an overwhelming number of health problems faced by women in rural areas were traced back to one single factor - the absence of proper menstrual hygiene.
Today Saukhyam Reusable Pads are used by thousands of women and girls not only in rural areas but also towns and cities of India and worldwide. Perhaps what appeals to rural women is the low price and easy availability of these pads. Women self-help groups in several states of India produce and market Saukhyam Reusable Pads. In urban India, the educated informed woman is making a switch because these pads are better for the environment and for her health.
Why Banana Fiber?
It is not widely know, but it is true. Just like trees are cut to make paper, trees are also cut to make the absorbent material in 99% of disposable pads made and sold globally.
Banana fiber is an excellent absorbent. It is also a type of cellulose fiber. However, it is obtained from agricultural waste; no trees are cut to extract the fiber. India is the largest producer of bananas in the entire world. This fruit tree has a unique property - it fruits only once. After the fruit is obtained in 8-9 months, the tree is cut for it will never bear fruit again.
There are a few groups in the world now making disposable pads from banana fiber. However, Amma guided the team to make reusable pads with banana fiber as the absorbent. "Even though banana fiber comes from waste, one must understand that it is too precious to be used just once and thrown away," Amma said. We felt that Amma was teaching us the basic principles of sustainability. Nothing disposable, in the long run, can ever be sustainable.