It’s funny how we take certain things for granted.
Who knew that so many women around the world do not have access to safe, hygienic and affordable sanitary products.
We found this Al Jazeera documentary and we were so fascinated how one man inspired by his wife has made a huge difference in the lives of so many women!
When he found out his wife was using old rags to manage her periods, Arunachalam Muruganantham, or Muruga, became obsessed with making the perfect sanitary pad for her.
He tried various options but they failed.
Eventually, he decided to test the sanitary pads himself. He built a uterus using a rubber bladder, filled it with animal blood and fixed it to his hip. A tube led from the artificial uterus to the sanitary pad in his underpants. By pressing the bladder he simulated the menstrual flow. Unfortunately he began to smell foul and his clothes were often stained with blood.
His neighbours called him a pervert and his wife left him, but he never gave up.
- 300 million – The number of women in India without access to safe menstrual hygiene products!
- 1 in 5: The number of girls in India who drop out of school due to menstruation.
Because of these facts, Muruga was on mission: to produce low-cost sanitary pads for all the girls and women in his country.
After years of work, his invention has changed the lives of millions of women across India.
Al Jazeera reveals;
He created an easy-to-use machine for producing low-cost sanitary pads. Imported machines cost over US$500,000. Muruga’s machine, by contrast, is priced at US$950. Now women’s groups or schools can buy his machine, produce their own sanitary pads and sell the surplus. In this way, Muruga’s machine has created jobs for women in rural India. 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.
Several corporations have offered to buy his machine, but he has refused, instead preferring to sell to women’s self help groups.
Read Muruga’s full story here: http://aje.io/MenstruationMan
Filmmaker: Dirk Gilson
Executive Producer: Yasir Khan
Camera: Henryk Ditze & Dirk Gilson
Article & Photos: Dirk Gilson
Assistant Producer: Ziad Ramley