UGER, meaning “new beginnings” in Mewari, is a women’s group in Udaipur supported by Jatan Sansthan. Under the guidance of Lakshmi Murthy, they have begun an endeavor for menstrual health and awareness.
Lakshmi Murthy is currently registered in a doctoral program at IIT, Bombay and her area of work is menstruation and menstrual management.
The women of UGER are from lower economic groups in Udaipur and have received extensive training in stitching. They work to create reusable cloth sanitary napkins. These pads are made with the intention of combating the growing use of disposable products in India, and the lack of an effective waste management system that our country faces.
Additionally, the UGER project aims to provide a healthy alternative to disposable pads, which contain chemicals and nonwoven polymers. The effects of long term usage of synthetic disposable sanitary napkins have not been determined, while cloth has been safely used by women in managing their menstruation for centuries. Traditionally women in India have used cloth, and many still do, so the concept of a cloth pad is not entirely foreign.
While creating a product that is helpful to the environment and to women’s bodies, the women of UGER are also engaged in enhancing their livelihoods and futures, as they earn income through the sale of the pads, and also learn valuable skills such as stitching, banking, and business management. Additionally, the project works to increase awareness about menstruation and end the silence and taboo surrounding the matter, through seminars in colleges and in discussions with different community groups, both rural and urban.