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This Kerala NGO has developed low-cost, eco-friendly cloth pads for rural women

A Kerala-based social enterprise built on spiritual and humanitarian values is out to provide rural women access to low-cost, eco-friendly cloth pads.

February 27, 2021 / 08:21 AM IST

As co-director of Amrita SeRVe, a project of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, an NGO with consultative status to the UN’s ECOSOC, Anju Bist has travelled to the most backward village clusters in 20 states of India, helping set up initiatives for sustainable development. In 2017, the Kerala-based NGO developed reusable pads from banana fibre and cotton cloth, called Saukhyam.

Saukhyam anju bist Saukhyam Anju Bist

Since 2017, Anju has been leading the Saukhyam team of over 30 volunteers and staff engaged in the production and sale of these pads, which have won awards nationally and internationally. Over 50,000 pads have been sold in three years, helping prevent the emission of carbon dioxide and reducing non-biodegradable menstrual waste.

Anju obtained her MBA and MS from the University of Maryland at College Park in the US and worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers thereafter. In 2003, she moved back to India and during the next decade was part of Amrita University where she taught environmental sciences and headed the team for web communication.