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Kiran Bajpai distributes free sanitary pads to women in villages near Gwalior

“We are trying to create awareness that using cloth during the menstrual cycle is unhygienic and that pads are not a luxury, but a need”

When the Government recently exempted sanitary pads from the Goods and Services Tax, one of those who rejoiced was Kiran Bajpai, whose Padwomen Foundation has been distributing free sanitary pads to seven villages near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. The 56 year-old has been buying sanitary napkins in bulk at ₹ 2.20 per pad from a Ghaziabad-based company for the past two years. Each village is taken care of by a group, who make a list of women who cannot afford napkins. While the pads are distributed free for the first four months, a nominal fee of ₹ 1 per pad is charged afterwards. With menstruation still a taboo topic in these villages, and many women supplementing cloth with dry grass, one of the greatest challenges for Bajpai was to change the mindset.

—Aakanksha Bajpai

Photo courtesy: Kiran Bajpai
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
November 2018