Archive for May, 2011

May 30, 2011

and the solution is an old cloth laying in your cupboard

GOONJ produced cloth napkin bundles

Monthly bleeding is common to women world-wide. A simple, clean, and hygiene pad is not so common. GOONJ is bringing clean menstrual cloths to low-income women in India

Menses continues to be a taboo subject in many places. It can lead to feelings of shame and uncleanliness.  The absence of dialogue around this natural process allows unhygienic practices to continue.  GOONJ has been researching this issue in India for over 7 years.  They have found that in the absence of a clean cloth, women will use the dirtiest rags.  Because of the scarcity and lack of access to cloth, this rag may be shared among family members and some women will use the same cloth for up to a year.  They found that a lack of appropriate or adequate sanitation facilities prevents girls form attending school while they are menstruating.  They have also found that some women are reluctant to wash and dry their cloth rags in public. The cloth rag remain moist and encourages bacterial growth and subsequent infection.

GOONJ is an organization that is tackling the lack of access to clothing.  They reclaim clothing, cleaning it for reuse or fashioning it into other products like school bags.  GOONJ recognizes sanitary napkins as a vital piece of clothing.  GOONJ aims to address this most basic need of women by turning old, recycled clothes into clean sanitary napkins; raise awareness about cloth napkins and hygiene though discussions and meetings in villages; promote discussion about menses and women’s health; and give training on the production of cloth napkins.

Additionally, GOONJ focuses on cloth napkins in particular to decrease the impact on the planet.  The clothing for the napkins comes largely recycled or discarded from urban areas in India. The napkins are hand made without the aid of machinery.  There is no reliance on non-biodegradable plastic products used in commercial sanitary pads.

Making cloth napkins

The production process for hand-made sanitary napkins fashioned from reclaimed clothing

In the field

GOONJ working on-site to raise awareness of women's health, hygiene, and cloth napkins


-Operating in 10 states in India and with 42 other grassroots organizations

-More than 1 million napkins distributed in the last 2 years

-150,000 – 200,000 napkins produced each month

-Over 150 meetings in villages across the country

-13 organizations trained in replicating the napkin production as an employment generation activity

“…and the solution is an old cloth lying in your cupboard.” Anshu Gupta


#Papaya Fresca

May 29, 2011

Keeping health care “On the map!” – Papaya Fresca

What would a mobile maternity clinic look like? Why are people still dying of preventable causes? Who’s tackling cervical cancer in Tanzania? How do you integrate health systems in rural areas? When should vaccination programs begin? Where is change being made?

I believe in providing affordable, sustainable health care world-wide.  This is a vision shared by many healthcare providers. It can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on in another community.  This blog is to help me, and my readers, organize and understand the different innovations, policy, and projects related to health. The focus is on solutions to reach low-income people – especially women!