URMI is a women-led rural enterprise, a growing MSME developed and supported by Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra. URMI addresses the local health issues affecting women by providing safe, affordable, accessible and healthy solution.
Palamu, Japla, Jharkhand
Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra
URMI - Building Opportunities for Economic Empowerment and Better health
Project urmi was started in the year 2q016 with a vision to provide livelihood to the women of the marginalised section and better health and hygiene to the girls and women of the area.
Women with capabilities and poor economic conditions were identified, such as widows who had no livelihood and income therefore, willing to work under the project.
A team of 6 women was made in order to run the manufacturing unit of sanitary pads. Initially these women were given training on menstrual hygiene. Then members of this team went to 5 panchayats covering 35 villages as it was observed that girls and women of the rural area depended upon clothes during menstruation and had no knowledge about hygiene and sanitary pads. Kishori samuh i.e., a group of adolescent girls were made and sessions were conducted by the team on menstrual health management (MHM). In these sessions the girls as well as the young ladies were given awareness about menstrual hygiene.
Earlier the rural women and girls used clothes during their menstrual cycle they were also told about the ill effects of the cloth. During these sessions they also introduced sanitary pads to them and talked about the benefits of these and also that it will be available at an affordable price and in nearby shops to them as it will be manufactured locally.
On 1st February 2017, the manufacturing of sanitary pads finally started at a local unit in japla with a team of 6 women. A 2-day orientation and training programme was conducted prior to this where a team taught the ladies about the working and usage of machineries installed for making the pads.
The material used for making pads is totally safe and organic. No kind of plastic is used while making it and a special care of hygiene is taken. Due to usage of organic material such as wood pulp cotton, gel fabric, non-woven cloth these sanitary pads are soft, comfortable, non-irritant, skin friendly and have superior liquid retention properties.
There are around 70 ‘Urmi Vikray Kendra’ in 5 panchayats covering 35 villages where these sanitary pads are sold. In addition to this ‘Urmi Vikray Sakhi’ is a group of ladies who sell these pads on cycles from village to village. Also, they are available at small and big local medical stores, cosmetic shops and general stores in various villages.
In the initial years this project was funded by Rizwan adatia foundation, Mumbai i.e., 2016-2018 and the unit was set up. But now, SSK has been mentoring and supporting it to become a self-sustaining business to be owned and led by local women. URMI sanitary napkins are provided at a very low cost of just Rs. 15 per packet. So, that everyone can afford to buy it.
At present several visitors are inspired from this and want to set up such a unit in their area for this purpose they also visit this urmi unit in japla.
Now Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra is looking forward to grow this unit and direct linkage to the ‘Urmi Bank Account’ of all the transactions of the urmi unit which will fully operate by team members.