Going Against The Trend: Instead Of Sanitary Pads, Kerala Municipality To Distribute 5,000 Menstrual Cups For Free
In an effort to curb menstrual waste, a municipal body in Kerala has launched a project to distribute menstrual cups for free.
The idea to launch the project called “Project Thinkal” came to The Alappuzha Municipality during the devastating flood in 2018 when it became a big problem for women staying at relief camps to dispose of their sanitary pads. The local authorities dealt with this problem by burning the used pads.
In order to tackle the problem, the civic body has launched a project to distribute 5,000 menstrual cups with support of HLL Lifecare and the public sector company Coal India Limited (CIL), which provided money to buy the cups under their Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative.
The municipal body has fixed a target of distributing 5,000 menstrual cups for free to female residents and so far it has distributed 280 cups in just two days after the launch of the programme.
“Our aim is to make this campaign a huge success that the whole country can adopt it. It won’t be halted midway no matter what happens. We will try to reach out to the entire women-population in our limits,” Municipal Chairman Thomas Joseph said to The Indian Express.
“An average woman uses at least 156 napkins a year, while a menstrual cup can be used for five or six years. If 5,000 women start using cups, the use of around 39 lakh pads can be avoided,” Secretary of the civic body, Jahamgeer S said.
“Menstrual cups are very hygienic and convenient than sanitary pads. But they are only available on e-commerce platforms. But then HLL came forward and agreed to manufacture them for us. We are also grateful to the CIL for funding the project,” he further said.
The project was named “Thinkal” which means Moon in Malayalam because women in olden days used to look at the moon to calculate their menstrual cycle, he added.
The biggest challenge before the civic body is to convince women to move from pads to menstrual cups as most women use napkins. Menstrual cups are finding it difficult to be popular among women.
To deal with this problem, the local body has opened a help centre to spread awareness about the cups and it has been very successful.
“We are also training the counsellors and Kudumbashree workers on using the cup and they will then be spreading awareness about it among other women,” Jahamgeer said.