In this episode of Muttina Angala, RJ Jyothi is in conversation with Soumya. They talk at length about Sukhibhava, which was started by Dilip and Sahana in 2014.
The idea behind establishing Sukhibhava came through Dilip’s work in another organisation. During his work there with migrants, he, along with his team, conducted a survey on how the migrant persons were managing their menstrual cycles and menstrual hygiene. The results were shocking – they use sponges, gunny bags, and other materials during their period cycles because they cannot afford sanitary pads. They also revealed that these materials absorb liquid well and for them, at construction sites and other workplaces, toilet facilities were not available. This moved Dilip and his team profoundly. He decided to work on the issue of period poverty separately, quit his job and started Sukhibhava.
Initially, the Sukhibhava team approached dealers and bought sanitary pads at a lower cost and sold them back to people in need. But people were reluctant to buy them because they did not know how to use these pads. The team realised that awareness must come first and that the idea of menstrual hygiene had to be raised urgently. They faced many challenges when trying to change the mindset of the people they were working with, but inroads were made.
Today, Sukhibhava has evolved into a social enterprise that works with marginalised women and adolescent girls to empower them through awareness and improved access to healthy menstrual practices. The team believes that women should take ownership of their menstrual health and hygiene by understanding their bodies and making informed choices. Sukhibhava has worked with more than 17,000 women and adolescent girls in India so far.