‘RAMROO,’ an environment friendly effort from Sikkim for women

Report by: 
SATHYA D.
NAMCHI
11 Mar 2019

'RAMROO' a women’s cooperative society and a brand of Sikkim Pragatishil Nari Cooperative Society promoted by North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) has started producing sanitary cloth pads for 'Planet Friendly Sikkim.' Ramroo -- which means beautiful in Nepali language -- is a brand name for sanitary cloth pads initiated by self help groups of North East Rural Livelihood Project(NERLP) Sikkim in collaboration with EcoFemme of Tamil Nadu and have come up with an eco-friendly alternative sanitary cloth pads with the motive to replace the harmful disposable sanitary napkin that women have been using since past many years. The Self Help Groups under NERLP South Sikkim were given training on stitching and production as well as necessary education of the project was also imparted to the trainees by the partner agency Eco Femme,a social enterprise from Auroville.
The project is done under STINER Initiative of the Central Government funded by the Union Ministry of DoNER which is conducted and facilitated by EcoFemme, NERLP, South Sikkim and RuTAG, IIT.  The branding, packaging, pricing and quality checking is done by Sikkim Pragatisheel Nari Cooperative Society promoted by NERLP and soon the product will hit the market in Sikkim under the already established brand name 'Ramroo' as Ramroo Sanitary Cloth Pads. Presently the production unit is situated in the office of Sikkim Pragatishil Nari Cooperative Society at Nandugaon, South Sikkim, two more productions units at Ravangla and Yangang run by self help groups is on the pipeline.
Ramroo Sanitary Cloth pads are not just good for the environment but also take into consideration women’s reproductive health and come at a pocket friendly price. It has been used and tested by women of self help groups in Sikkim and has received good response. This started with an initiative of project with a difference, the difference being the dual impact on the women and the earth as reusable pads keep a lot of disposable products out of landfills hence these cloth pads are better for environment as well while these reusable cloth pads last much longer and stand up to multiple uses.
Dr. Adhikari, District Medical Superintendent from Namchi District Hospital, visited the unit on March 8  to inspect the products produced in the Sikkim Pragatishil Nari Cooperative Society (SPNCS) Office at Nandugaon under Jorethang Block and the feedback by the DMS was very positive and a certification from the Sikkim Health Department is also on the pipeline. SPNCS is a social enterprise where business and social responsibility go hand in hand. The cloth pads are stitched by members of women self help groups enabling them to earn a living. The marketing efforts will support the outreach programmes of this initiative which provides menstrual health education and free and subsidized pad to economically disadvantaged adolocent girls and women. In a way the production of Ramroo cloth pad in Sikkim by the women self help groups is an initiative towards cloth pad revolution in Sikkim while helping the state become more planet friendly.