For-profitYear launched: 2004
Country of Operation
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
- Lower-middle income (20-40%)
- Middle-income (40-60%)
- Family planning and reproductive health
- Secondary/tertiary care
SummaryMillions of women around the world cannot afford sanitary napkins, mainly because they’re manufactured using expensive machinery and thus priced at a premium. Such women resort to an older and cheaper alternative – a piece of cloth or rag. This is an unhygienic alternative and can cause infections, leading to a greater risk of complications in childbirth, and even cancer. Jayashree Industries produces affordable sanitary napkins using low-cost machinery with local actors. Women in India can afford to purchase the sterilized sanitary napkins without compromising on quality. The business model of Jayashree Industries assures sustainability and targets local social entrepreneurs.
Jayaashree Industries sells affordable machinery to produce quality low-cost sanitary napkins targeted at poor rural women in India. The machinery used by multinational companies to produce sanitary pads costs upwards of $500,000, and is unaffordable for entrepeneurs looking to enter the sanitary napkin market in India. Additionally, the cost of these napkins is too high for regular use by poor rural women, who instead use unhygenic home-made alternatives that often result in infection and further health problems. Jayaashree Industries creates small-scale low cost machinery needed to manufacture sanitary pads at a fraction of the price to both the entrepreneur and the end-user. These machines are marketed at women's self-help groups, who then produce and sell the sanitary pads to local women at 20% the cost of the cheapest mass-market brands.
Key program components
Jayaashree Industries markets sanitary napkin machines to women's groups throughout the country. Rural women's self-help groups (SHGs) purchase the machines through the support of NGO's and bank loans. Rural women are a part of the complete life-cycle of the business, from purchasing the machine and the raw materials, to manufacturors, to marketing the finished product. The finished sanitary pads are available to local women at a fraction of the cost of mass-market products produced by multi-national companies.
The machines are financed by banks and investment organizations as a "cottage industry." Jayaashree's machines cost approximately Rs. 100,000 ($1,600), and can produce 120 sanitary pads per hour. The machines process pine wood fiber to create the napkins, seal the pads, and undergo a UV sterilization process. Pads are sold by women's SHGs at the affordable price of Rs. 10 to Rs. 13 ($0.25). The machines have created a local supply chain surrounding the manufacture of sanitary pads, and combat the problem of the "Three A's" - Affordability, Accessability, and Awareness. Rural women in the areas served by Jayaashree's machines are now more likely to use sanitary pads in the place of unhygienic methods.