In India, women’s usage of hygiene products is limited due to a lack of affordability, little availability in rural areas, inadequate health education, social stigma, and issues with proper disposal. Saathi estimates that rural girls miss up to 50 days of school each year due to a lack of sanitary pads and access to clean bathrooms, while women miss work for the same reasons. To address some of these challenges, Saathi developed the world’s first 100 percent biodegradable and compostable sanitary pad made from waste banana tree fiber.
Saathi partners with NGOs to distribute its products to marginalized rural communities at a subsidy funded by urban sales. By providing affordable sanitary pads, Saathi helps keep girls in school and women employed, thereby improving their access to economic opportunity. Saathi also trains healthcare workers on menstrual hygiene, as more than 80 percent of women and girls across India have scarce knowledge about the biological purpose of menstruation. Meanwhile, manufacturing is localized, providing additional income to farmers and suppliers, creating jobs, and empowering communities. This sustainable model eliminates the perceived trade-off between women’s welfare and environmental protection.
- Barely 20 percent of India’s menstruating women currently use conventional sanitary pads.
- If all Indian women had access to affordable, accessible, and healthy sanitary pads, they’d need more than 40 billion each year.
- 20 percent growth in monthly product sales driven by positive press, including Devex, BloombergQuint, Economic Times
- Swept all categories at Hello Tomorrow Summit, totaling $150,000 in prizes
- Increase repeat orders and urban customers to support subsidiaries in rural areas
- Support three to five farmer collectives during scale-up
- Provide subsidized sanitary pads to 6,000 women in Jharkhand
- Expand to US, EU, and Indian markets
Saathi currently partners with:
- Ekal Vidyalaya, India’s largest educational NGO
- Pipeline Angels
- Former P&G Engineering Director and Tampax executive
- Silicon Valley investor and advisor
- Branding and digital marketing support to expand outreach across India
- Manufacturing and funding support to scale up operations and production capacity
- Disposal partners, specifically biogas and compost
- Marketing and sales expertise in distribution and consumer products
- Investor partners focused on circular economy and sustainable solutions