Jharsuguda : Twenty Three years old, Payal Patel had always dreamt of doing something for the women in Rural areas and bringing change in their lives. And with this noble objective, she started her work after she completed her B.Sc in Botany from Women College in the year 2016 and had made an extensive tour of the district to promote the use of sanitary pad among women.
She did not restrict herself to sensitizing the women only but has also thought of making the rural women avail sanitary pads at a cheap and affordable price so that money would not be a constraint for the rural women to maintain Hygiene.
A resident of a small village Rangiatikra under Kirmira Block of Jharsuguda District, Payal lost her father, due to cancer in the year 2014. But despite the familial problem, she did not divert from her ambition and did, whatever was required, to cherish her dream.
To support her dream her mother was the only one to inspire her to achieve her dream.
“I have never restricted her for anything and had been guiding her to achieve her dreams, ” said her Mother Sabita Patel
After completing the B.Sc., She joined a Skill Development Institute Rural Self Employment Training Institute run by TRL Krosaki Ltd and State bank of India to got herself trained in Sanitary Pad making. She also went to Mumbai to learn the advanced method to make low-cost sanitary pads.
“There were many other trades to learn which I could have joined but I choose this because, in rural areas, the women are not aware of proper hygiene and lack of knowledge they use unhygienic methods of menstrual protection despite Government’s awareness campaigns and aggressive advertisements by companies dealing with sanitary napkins,” said Payal Patel
Finally, she set up her own unit in the year 2017 and started it on the hygiene day after availing 8 Lacs loan under PMEGP and another 12 Lacs from the family saving. Presently she has been selling her sanitary pad by the brand name Hygiene which cost Rs. 30 for 8 Pcs. She has also provided much employment to the local women.
“I was a normal housewife at home doing nothing except household work but when I was called by Payal mam and have given an opportunity to work. Now I am earning and made me self-independent too, for which I am happy as well,” said Kalyani Bhoi, one of the women worker working in Payal’s Sanitary Unit.
Payal thinks that the greatest challenge is to bring change in the mindset of the rural women who are still using cloth instead of napkins, due to social stigma.
To overcome this, Payal has been conducting several camps in the village Schools and training Self Help Group women. She has been explaining the benefits of using this kind of pads and why they should use this.
“Initially when I spoke to few women in my village about menstrual hygiene, they were reluctant to use the napkins but after six months of my units, the women started using my product and felt good. I have not been succeeded 100 percent in my mission but still I have managed to change the mindsets of some women and made them think about how important is the menstrual hygiene in a women life” she said
Additionally “I would request the Odisha Government to include entrepreneurs of the Odisha, like us in the Khushi Scheme rather than giving preferences to the other companies present outside the state, ” she added