The CHARCHA initiative paved ways for the installation of PAD-ATM’s. These are not any bank ATM’s nor money ATM’s. These are specially designed ATM’s which aim to solve the issue of accessibility, availability and affordability of sanitary pads for the community women. To have the menstrual days passing at a comfortable pace with the help of sanitary pads, it will aim to improve the overall menstrual health of the community women. PAD-ATM’s are manually operated boxes which have pads manufactured by Jan Aushadhi Kendra which is available at cost effective price of just Rs 4 and contains 4 pads which implies the cost of a single pad to be Re 1. PAD-ATM are operated by the local coordinators present at the center who provide pads as asked by the community women after taking Rs 4 from them and when the ATM turns empty the local coordinator will send the collected money to GBF from where the ATM will get refilled within 24 to 36 hours. At every centre where ATM’s are to be installed, a collective effort with local active NGO for smooth operation and monitoring, is encouraged by Glad Bharat Foundation. These ATM’s are just to make the community women habituated to the use of sanitary pads and relinquish the use of clothes and other unsafe products. This innovative idea of PAD-ATM was executed and first implemented on 19th August, 2022 at rural remote village of Raniganj, Tekari Block, Gaya, Bihar which consisted of 50 pads. Following the day of set-up, the request was raised on the very next day for 29 more packets which were then refilled on 21st August, 2022. Further, request was raised on 22nd August, 2022 to which refilling was done on 24th August, 2022. The response received from the place clearly shows the interest and inclination of community women in switching to the use of sanitary pads. The initiative by Glad Bharat Foundation has a long way to go in a sustainable manner.
– By Manasvi, IIM Rohtak