Maya Vishwakarma

Maya Vishwakarma

Sukarma Foundation

I come from a small village in Madhya Pradesh. The opportunities to study and grow were also minimal here. Children only acquired education until eighth grade, and further education was a far-fetched dream. Still, my parents encouraged me to study more, and with a little bit of fate and lots of hard work, I was able to secure a scholarship from the Government to fund my higher studies. Later I also earned a scholarship to study Biochemistry in the USA. Living in the USA made me realise how much development is required in India, and thus fuelled by this motivation to bring about a change, I returned to India.I worked towards the betterment of the village by releasing a book about the importance of preserving the ecosystem. The primary concern that bothered me the most was the lack of awareness and information about menstrual health and hygiene. I decided to work on this matter and started by contacting Arunachalam Muruganantham, who is working towards easy and cheap access to healthy sanitary products. He guided me as to how I should begin at a similarly small-scale factory to produce cheap pads, as he does. This factory also generated employment and made the women working here more aware of menstrual health. This was not the real challenge that I planned to tackle. I wished to spread awareness in tribal areas which are still not aware of it. I started a campaign, Pad Woman, and visited various small districts where we informed the girls in schools and hostels and made sanitary napkins available. The movement saw resentment and resistance, but we persevered through it, and today every woman in my village uses sanitary pads. Many towns have sanitary pads available at just Rs. 2 per box.We all acknowledge various kinds of problems but not all of us act on them. We have to understand that what will work today will determine what will happen to us in the future. Ignorance is not always bliss. Sometimes we need to acknowledge and act.

State : Madhya Pradesh

Gender : Female

Sector : Not for profit

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