After spending years developing a simple machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads, Arunachalam Muruganantham has become the unlikely leader of a menstrual health revolution in rural India. Over sixteen years, Muruganantham’s machine has spread to 1,300 villages in 23 states and since most of his clients are NGOs and women’s self-help groups who produce and sell the pads directly in a “by the women, for the women, and to the women” model, the average machine also provides employment for ten women.
Muruganantham’s interest in menstrual health began in 1998 when, as a young, newly married man, he saw his wife, Shanthi, hiding the rags she used as menstrual cloths. Like most men in his village, he had no idea about the reality of menstruation and was horrified that cloths that “I would not even use… to clean my scooter” were his wife’s solution to menstrual sanitation. When he asked why she didn’t buy sanitary pads, she told him that the expense would prevent her from buying staples like milk for the family.
Muruganantham, who left school at age 14 to start working, decided to try making his own sanitary pads for less but the testing of his first prototype ran into a snag almost immediately: Muruganantham had no idea that periods were monthly. “I can’t wait a month for each feedback, it’ll take two decades!” he said, and sought volunteers among the women in his community. He discovered that less than 10% of the women in his area used sanitary pads, instead using rags, sawdust, leaves, or ash. Even if they did use cloths, they were too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, meaning that they never got disinfected — contributing to the approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India that are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.
Finding volunteers was nearly impossible: women were embarrassed, or afraid of myths about sanitary pads that say that women who use them will go blind or never marry. Muruganantham came up with an ingenious solution: “I became the man who wore a sanitary pad,” he says. He made an artificial uterus, filled it with goat’s blood, and wore it throughout the day. But his determination had severe consequences: his village concluded he was a pervert with a sexual disease, his mother left his household in shame and his wife left him. As he remarks in the documentary “Menstrual Man” about his experience, “So you see God’s sense of humour. I’d started the research for my wife and after 18 months she left me!”
After years of research, Muruganantham perfected his machine and now works with NGOs and women’s self-help groups to distribute it. Women can use it to make sanitary napkins for themselves, but he encourages them to make pads to sell as well to provide employment for women in poor communities. And, since 23% of girls drop out of school once they start menstruating, he also works with schools, teaching girls to make their own pads: “Why wait till they are women? Why not empower girls?”
As communities accepted his machine, opinions of his “crazy” behavior changed. Five and a half years after she left, Shanthi contacted him, and they are now living together again. She says it was hard living with the ostracization that came from his project, but now, she helps spread the word about sanitary napkins to other women. “Initially I used to be very shy when talking to people about it, but after all this time, people have started to open up. Now they come and talk to me, they ask questions and they also get sanitary napkins to try them.”
In 2009, Muruganantham was honored with a national Innovation Award in 2009 by then President of India, Pratibha Patil, beating out nearly 1,000 other entries. Now, he’s looking at expanding to other countries and believes that 106 countries could benefit from his invention.
Muruganantham is proud to have made such a difference: “from childhood I know no human being died because of poverty — everything happens because of ignorance… I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness.” His proudest moment? A year after he installed one of the machines in a village so poor that, for generations, no one had earned enough for their children to attend school. Then he received a call from one of the women selling sanitary pads who told him that, thanks to the income, her daughter was now able to go to school.
To read more about Muruganantham’s story, the BBC featured a recent profile on him at http://bbc.in/1i8tebG or watch his TED talk at http://bit.ly/1n594l6. You can also view his company’s website at http://newinventions.in/
To learn more about the 2013 documentary Menstrual Man about Muruganantham, visit http://www.menstrualman.com/
For resources to help girls prepare for and understand their periods - including several first period kits - visit our post on: “That Time of the Month: Teaching Your Mighty Girl about Her Menstrual Cycle” at www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=3281
To help your tween understand the changes she’s experiencing both physically and emotionally during puberty, check out the books recommended in our post on “Talking with Tweens and Teens About Their Bodies” at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=2229
And, if you’re looking for ways to encourage your children to become the next engineering and technology innovators, visit A Mighty Girl’s STEM toy section athttp://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/science-math
Awesome, dude. Awesome. I mean, AWESOME.
WHAT AN EPIC BADASS!
This man is awesome!
I hope that’s his wife putting pads together in the back. His swag is on 5hunna just because he’s part of the gotdamn solution!
Free books: 100 legal sites to download literature
Browse works by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors here.
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If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.
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Math and Science
Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology.
- FullBooks.com: This site has “thousands of full-text free books,” including a large amount of scientific essays and books.
- Free online textbooks, lecture notes, tutorials and videos on mathematics: NYU links to several free resources for math students.
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Even children’s books are now available online. Find illustrated books, chapter books and more.
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Philosophy and Religion
For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites.
- Bored.com: Bored.com has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles.
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From Shakespeare to George Bernard Shaw to more contemporary playwrights, visit these sites.
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Modern Fiction, Fantasy and Romance
These websites boast collections of graphic novels, romance novels, fantasy books and more.
- Public Bookshelf: Find romance novels, mysteries and more.
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- Get Free Ebooks: This site’s largest collection includes fiction books.
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For books in a foreign language like French, Spanish and even Romanian, look here.
- Project Laurens Jz Coster: Find Dutch literature here.
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History and Culture
Refresh your memory of world history, the classics and U.S. history here.
- LibriVox: LibriVox has a good selection of historical fiction.
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Look for rare books online here.
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Arts and Entertainment
This list features books about celebrities, movies, fashion and more.
- Books-On-Line: This large collection includes movie scripts, newer works, cookbooks and more.
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Here you can find mystery books from Sherlock Holmes to more contemporary authors.
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These poetry sites have works by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
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For even more free book sites, check out this list.
- Banned Books: Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.
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- Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.
I love Anastasia but they get so much shit wrong and I had to talk about it.
I am still laughing.
I actually spend the first part of the movie going “No! Hermitage was opened the public so everyone could see how the monarchy lived off the backs of the poor. It was not closed so that hot Dmitri could hang out there. It was totes open to the public.
video: 12-yr-old takes on NC Governor re. voting rights
The following article provided by Daily Kos regarding Madison’s next political target, Phyllis Schlafly. Amazing to see someone at the age of 12 do more with their voice than the majority of people ever will…
Phyllis Schlafly Gets Schooled By A Twelve Year-Old
OK, not just any twelve year-old. Those of you who follow the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina may remember Madison Kimrey, the twelve year-old who stood in front of Governor McCrory’s mansion and spoke up for voter rights, and who McCrory insulted by having an aide bring out cookies.
Now she’s done it again, this time in print. Her target is Phyllis Schlafly, that maven of “conservative womanhood” whose latest editorial stated that women needed to be paid less so they could get men.
Madison is having none of it.
You MUST click the link and read the whole thing, but I’ll give a precis and some highlights.
She begins by attempting to find something they both have in common so she can speak to Ms. Schlafly on equal terms:Using the context of shopping for a foundation garment, Miss Kimrey very clearly shows what true equality is.I’ve been thinking about how I can explain what feminism means to my generation in a way you might not have thought of before. I wanted to try to work from something we have in common, and it’s been kind of hard to find something I have in common with you. Then, it came to me. I bet you wear a bra.Then she goes in for the kill:I don’t know where you shop for your bras, but I bet you have a favorite one. I bet you have that one bra that’s comfortable and goes with just about everything. I bet the last thing you were thinking about when you bought that bra was what a man would think about it.
Well, making choices in our lives as young women is kind of like finding that favorite bra. Not all of us are going to fit into the same kind and not all of us are going to find the same style attractive. We all deserve to have as many choices as possible, and as women, we shouldn’t be judging the choices made by other women. Choosing a bra is a very personal choice and is none of anyone else’s business. We should be, as women, looking for ways we can expand the choices both for ourselves and other women, just as Megan Grassell did when she started Yellowberry. Equality doesn’t mean women will all make the same choice. It means women will be treated the same no matter what choices they make.And that’s not even the last part. By the time it’s done, the mic is dropped, and Schlafly is left, a quivering mass, on History’s Ashbin of Irrelevancy.What you’re doing, Ms. Schlafly, is contributing to something very disturbing I see happening with some of the teenage girls I know. At a time in their lives when they should be free, independent, and exploring and preparing for the possibilities they have in the future, many of them are worried about getting or keeping a boyfriend. There are young women my age who are extremely smart but they hide it because they get messages from women like you that if they are too smart or successful, boys won’t like them. They get messages from women like you that pleasing a man should be their number one goal.
I’m voting for Madison Kimrey for President in 2040.
sinister mermaid for eva!!! shes loosely based on the black dragonfish ;v; sorry if its super disappointing, i made the mistake of doing this drawing in greyscale first so the colors look like absolute trash….( also sorry its rly small??? if u want the full version ill send it via skype since U ARENT ON RN…)
anyway happy bday eva!! sorry im a day late :,O
pls view the. full version. since it looks like shit otherwise lmao.
Can we talk about how Steve Rogers would probably fight to keep abortion legal and safe, because he saw how many people used to die back in the day because all abortions were illegal and unsafe and he knows if a person is pregnant and don’t want to be pregnant they will find a way to not be pregnant?
Can we talk about Steve Rogers telling off right wing politicians who say minimum wage isn’t supposed to be a living wage? Can we have him saying ‘No, I remember when it was instituted. It was supposed to be a living wage, senator.’
Can we talk about Steve Rogers supporting a raise in SNAP benefits, because he knows how it feels to go hungry?
Can we talk about Steve Rogers having problems with this country’s military industrial complex?
What if Right Wing Politicians were using him as like a mascot before he was defrosted. Like Fox News has “What Would Captain America Do?” shirts and shit like that.
And then Steve wakes up “He’s just like, lol no don’t even say my name anymore.”
And then the daily show has an entire segment dedicated to the speech he gives and fox news’ reaction.
Steve Rogers is not the hyper-masculine ultra-patriotic gun-toting conservative puppet that Fox News wants him to be.
The news media has a field day on both sides about how he reacted to fox news.
Liberals and dems are cheering him on and talking about how great he is and having him speak on shows and conservatives and republicans are enraged and offended and yell about how he has betrayed them and try to get him to mess up in interviews and go “well no but you really mean this right?” and he blasts them down every time.
I need this written 4000 years ago
Remember when Disney was all like ‘fuck how races work and homogeneous casts and couples’?
Black and white couple produce fillipino-american child. White dude is the valet. White step mother, one white step sister, one black step sister. Just a jumble, and it ought to happen again.
First multi-racial cast performing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Whitney Houston was producing Rodger and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” and was to star in it until she decided that Brandy Norwood would make a better Cinderella. Brandy would not do it unless her idol Whitney took the Fairy Godmother role.
Brandy Norwood became the first African-American to play Cinderella. This version broke viewer-ship records when it debuted, and it holds the record for the bestselling video for a made for TV movie.
So fuck any noise where people say audiences don’t want to see a mixed race couple, or more people of color. This was a success from television. I still remember Brandy singing Impossible.
That ought to happen again. Mixed race live action cast where the relationships don’t made genetic or racial sense.
This was my life when it came out…
This is my standard for diversity casting.