Project Baala is a social enterprise providing anyone who menstruates with affordable and reusable menstrual pads while normalising conversations about periods. It works with partners who can sponsor the costs of outreach and distribution drives at schools in India, and has held over 1,100 workshops all over India, and given out 900,000 reusable pads as of June 2022.
Soumya, the Founder, is an economics graduate from the University of Warwick. She has extensive experience in the development sector with stints at 3IE and projects in Ghana, South Africa and Haryana. She is a trained classical singer and painter and has a deep love for running. You could find her in the office snacking on new weekly obsessions or cracking really bad jokes.
ARADHANA RAI GUPTA
Aradhana, Co-Lead, is an MBA graduate from Cornell University. She has worked with multinationals such as P&G and EY in their marketing and risk advisory departments. Her work on sustainability leadership at the University of Cambridge brings valuable expertise to the project. She brings music to the team with her piano and ukulele. It is also unlikely to not catch her singing or talking about food when you visit the office!
Project Baala is taking reusable pads and menstrual hygiene to women and girls in rural areas
Menstrual hygiene management and access to sanitary napkins is a basic necessity many women across the world do not have access to. According to the Ministry of Health’s 2016 data, only 12 percent women in India have access to sanitary napkins while a majority of them relied on outdated, unhygienic methods during menstruation. To tackle the the lack of access to proper menstrual facilities and awareness about menstrual hygiene and health in rural areas, Soumya Dabriwal started Project Baala in 2016.
Soumya was a student at the University of Warwick, England when she volunteered in Haryana and Ghana as a teacher. During this time, she discovered the common side of menstrual hygiene problems in both countries. Troubled by girls missing out on school and following unhygienic practices like using cloth rags, Soumya started the social initiative while she was still in college.
After returning to India in August 2016, she took up a job at a development company but continued to run Project Baala. However, while working in various rural areas, she understood the magnitude of the problem and after seeing the response to her project, she quit her job in 2017 to focus on Project Baala full time. In 2018, she was joined by Aradhana Rai Gupta, a Cornell alumna who helps co-lead the organisation. Both the 24-year-olds visit villages and urban slums and distribute Baala pads and impart menstrual hygiene awareness to women and girls.
Read more at: https://yourstory.com/herstory/2020/04/project-baala-reusable-pads--menstruation-rural-women-girls