Vast majority of girls and women from underprivileged families in India, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to products which ensure hygiene during menstruation periods. They have traditionally used scrap cloth from old sarees and towels, adding a layer of sand, ash or rice husk for added protection during heavy blood flow. Unfortunately, such usage often leads to urinary and reproductive tract infections. Ideally, sanitary napkins would be the best solution but for the unaffordable cost.
NGO organizations based in cities obtain donation of sanitary napkins which in turn are sent to the needy in villages and small towns. However, the users need to receive the items regularly and the donors have to maintain regularity in providing supplies. Other organizations are producing providing reusable cloth menstrual pads which are supplied for free or at low price to the needy. All are listed in 'Whom Can You Contact' section below.
A newer option is to set up small-scale cottage industries in rural areas to produce low-cost cloth sanitary pads by utilizing a low-cost pad-making machine developed by India’s ‘Pad Man’ Arunachalam Muruganantham. This machine is already in operation in several rural parts of India, after having been procured by self-help groups or donated by well-wishers. The unit can be run by a small team of women after some basic training.
#GiveHer5, an Initiative by Livinguard Technologies Ltd. & The Ammada Trust
Many underprivileged girls in our country miss out on school due to the lack of proper menstrual care. A small online donation of Rs 200 will give an underprivileged girl a set of two antimicrobial, reusable 'Saafkins' sanitary napkins helping her stay in school during her periods for an entire year.
022-3021 2509; 1800-121-2445 (toll free)
Donate 'Saathi' Pads
'Saathi' sanitary pads are biodegradable, compostable and made from banana fibre. You may buy the same and donate it to the needy women in rural communities. Alternately delivery would be made by supplier directly to the user nominated by you.
079-4891 0522 (For urgent queries only)
MITU Foundation (Multiple Initiatives Towards Upliftment)
Help a less-privileged adolescent schoolgirl by sponsoring a year's supply of sanitary napkins. On an average, a girl needs 8-10 napkins per month and 100-120 napkins per annum. On donating Rs 1,000, MITU will provide a hygiene kit (sanitary pads, soaps, panties etc) that will be sufficient for a girl for a year.
57/2, 1st Floor, 17th Cross, Behind Bun World, Malleswaram, Bangalore 560055
They promote menstrual hygiene among slum-dweller poor women who are encouraged to use sanitary pads through awareness drives with the help of videos and timely follow-up. Thereafter a cheep and good quality sanitary napkin is introduced to the women.
#449, Ambrose Villa, 7th Main, Viveknagar, Bangalore.
Bangalore Delhi-NCR Hyderabad Kolkata Mumbai
'Happy Periods' Campaign by Aarna Foundation
This campaign is to provide free sanitary napkins on the basis of 7 pads per month for each underprivileged woman and girl. One girl will be getting 7 pads of napkins atleast (1 Month package). You can make donation of sanitary napkins of any size and brand.
Bangalore: 80884 82476 Delhi-NCR: 99530 27390 Hyderabad: 90303 74357
Kolkata: 96479 62713 Mumbai: 97691 81218, 86928 75889
A Sanitary Napkin Campaign
This campaign involves distribution of sanitary napkins at Shaheed Udham Singh Colony near the Chandigarh airport in Mohali, and at Sector-38 and Sector-25 in Chandigarh. Donated napkins are re-packed in packs of seven before distribution to ensure that the items are used and not sold.
Srishti Millicent, Vani Jindal
Stop the Spots
This is a campaign to make and distribute hygienic sanitary pads free of cost to adolescent girls and poor women in slum areas of Chandigarh and Jalandhar. The pads, made from cotton and gauze, are sterile and bio-degradable. Till date, over 1,000 pads have been distributed.
Jaanvi Singh & Lavaanya Jain
Have set up a small unit in slum area of JJ Colony, Sector-3, Dwarka to manufacture cheap and easy-to-use sanitary napkins which are branded as 'Sangini'. The unit is run by a women's self-help group.
46, Institutional Area, D Block, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058
011-2852 0347, 2852 2263, 2852 5784
Project WE (Women's Empowerment) by Taj Foundation
Sponsor donation of sanitary pads to schools girls and women members of self-help groups (SHGs) in UP. Health programmes will be conducted in schools and SHGs to train girls and women to distribute sanitary pads and to act as peer leaders about reproductive health.
If you are in Kerala, you can buy packets of sanitary napkins and hand them over to the CodeRed team who will in turn distribute it to orphanages or NGOs serving underprivileged women. Prior to that, do post a message on their Facebook page to co-ordinate the handing over.
Sara Fathima, Ayushi Dangre and Pritishree Dash
Major Cities Across India
‘Not Just a Piece of Cloth’ initiative by Goonj
Cotton cloth donated to them will be converted into reusable cloth menstrual pads, called ‘MY PADS’. These are given free of cost to the needy women in villages.
Main office: 011-2697 2351, 4140 1216
Click on the link below for city-wise phone nos
Period of Sharing by 'Muse'
'Muse' sends sanitary napkins to 500 poor tribal girls of Nareshwadi village in Palghar district of Maharashtra. Please sign up for this programme and thereafter, you need to undertake donation of 1 packet of sanitary napkins every month.
98335 00987, 98337 50562, 98193 65617
Safe 'n' Happy Periods
They create awareness about hygiene during menstruation for adolescent girls and women through talks and workshops. Look forward to donation of sanitary napkins to distribute to girls in need. These can be delivered at the address below or sent by post parcel.
11th Floor, B-wing, Kukreja centre, Sector 11, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai 400614
93225 25977, 84250 63301
Sanitary Pad Bank by TEE Foundation
Donation of sanitary pads made to this Pad Bank are forwarded to needy girls and women as well as to tribal girls in Zilla Parishad schools of Maharashtra.
New MHADA Colony, Near Lokhandwala Circle, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400053.
8199 85042, 90290 37007, 96196 92723
He visits villages near Ranchi every week to distribute sanitary pads to largely illiterate poor women. Adolescent girls in various villages are supporting Mangesh's mission by spreading awareness on the need for hygienic practices during menstruation. If you wish to support him in any way, send a 'Friend Request' to his Facebook profile.
'Anandi' Pads by Aakar Innovations Pvt Ltd
This is a bio-degradable sanitary napkin produced on a simple machine developed by Aakar Innovations. The napkins sell for an affordable price of Rs 30 for a pack of 8. These machines have been set up by local entrepreneurs or women's groups to serve rural villages and urban slums in the vicinity. You too can set up one!
B-309, Mahaavir Icon, Sector 15, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai 400614
Came across underprivileged women who cannot afford sanitary pads? Bring it to the attention of the listed organisations or to us.
Interested in promoting donation of sanitary napkins? Set up a group in your city that persuades people to donate the napkins to NGOs.
Wish to volunteer or associate with one of the groups listed above? Get in touch with them directly or inform us.