Making income through homemade napkins

Oxfam in Asia - Publications - Nepal - Making Income through Homemade Napkins

Padma Gurung sewing sanitary napkins at her tailoring shop in Gorkha. She sells them at NRs 25 per piece. Photo credit: Sabir Ojha/Oxfam

“I usually have a lot of leftover cloths which would be wasted otherwise; but I can now turn these clothes into something useful and sell them at an affordable cost.”
Padma Gurung

Padma Gurung of Takumaj vdc of Gorkha district never thought she would be displaying sanitary napkins for sale at her tailoring shop one day. She never thought she would be sewing them herself and earning extra money too.

It all began after she got the training on making sanitary napkins by Oxfam and Unification Nepal. She was already working as Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) and was providing services to the people in her community. She added further skills to herself, when she attended the training on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) where she learned the skills of preparing reusable sanitary napkins.

Padma, who had lost her house in the 2015 earthquake, had also received a grant from Oxfam and Unification Nepal to revive her business—her sewing machine was damaged in the earthquake. But a very optimistic Padma did not want to waste any time to utilize her newfound skill. She was able to make extra income by sewing the homemade sanitary napkins Sajilo Napkin and selling them. “I usually have a lot of leftover cloths which would be wasted otherwise,” Padma says, “But I can now turn these clothes into something useful and sell them at an affordable cost.” She sells these napkins at NRs 25 (0.22 USD) per piece.

Sajilo Napkins, sewn at Padma's tailoring shop on display for sale. Photo by: Sabir Ojha/Oxfam

“Most women in the village prefer clothes over the disposable sanitary pads as they can be washed and reused,” Padma says. To tap this potential, she is now all set to expand her business by supplying Sajilo Napkins to two other villages—Takukot and Muchhok.

Girls stop by her shop asking for information on making the napkin. She counsels them and other costumers on the proper way of using the Sajilo Napkins and the importance of maintain proper hygiene and nutrition during menstruation. She has got a chance to strengthen her role of a FCHV too. “Unlike in the past, girls and women talk freely about the matters of menstruation these days,” Padma shares.

In Gorkha, more than 2,000 women like Padma have received training on making alternate sanitary napkins and 178 households have received petty traders’ grant to revive their businesses affected by the arthquakes of 2015. 

Learn more about Oxfam's work in Nepal. Visit nepal.oxfam.org