THE PAD-MAN OF INDIA!
July 10th, 2017
It started with a simple intention, to woo his newly-wed wife! After Arunachalam Muruganantham realized that his wife used old rags to deal with menstruation and not sanitary napkins as they were highly priced, he was shocked. He knew that using old rags were an unhygienic option and to impress his wife, he decided to create a sanitary napkin on his own.
Initially, it seemed an easy task. He made a prototype and told his wife to test it. Unlike what he expected, his wife came with the conclusion that old rags were much better an option than his cotton pads. This made Muruga more determined to change the prototype and come up with a better result. But to test these, he had to wait for a month and decided to ask medical students to try them as well.
He came from a small village, where women were not yet comfortable talking about their “personal issues” to other men. Somebody had to test his prototypes; he decided to test them himself! He built an artificial bladder, filled it with animal blood and attached to his hip. Result? Mocked by the society, his wife and mother left him and he was forced to leave the village. Why? Because he decided to provide affordable sanitary napkins to rural women and help them fight various lethal diseases.
Many would have given up at this point, but he knew why he was going through all this. It took him two and a half years of immense hard work and research to find the right materials and found that only 10-20% women in India has access to good quality sanitary napkins. This made him more determined to build a sustainable sanitary napkin machine. He is now fighting with giants like Johnson and Johnson and P&G who are leading the market with their sanitary napkin brands.
Many organizations have offered to buy his low cost machine but has failed to convince him. He only sells his machine in rural India and trains women to make their own napkins and sell the surplus, this provides them with income and employment. Because of his revolutionary thought, millions of rural women have gained employment and women now can afford to use sanitary napkin! His vision is to make India 100% sanitary napkin using country.
He has started a revolution in his own country, selling 1,300 machines to 27 states, and has recently begun exporting them to developing countries all over the world. Today he is one of India’s most well-known social entrepreneurs and TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014.