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  • Will you tell me?

  • Are you scared?

  • Ask her first.

  • -Ask her first. -No, why don't you go ahead?

  • -Period? -Yes.

  • Say it!

  • I know what it is, but I feel embarrassed.

  • -You feel shy? -I can't say it.

  • Okay, but why did you get so serious?

  • What is she asking?

  • Why does it happenWhat happens in the body?

  • She is asking why it happens.

  • What is the reason behind the bleeding?

  • This is something only God knows.

  • It's bad blood which comes out.

  • Babies are born because of it.

  • That's all I know.

  • Which one of you knows what a period is?

  • Heard of it?

  • -Like a class period? -The kind you'd ring a bell for?

  • No.

  • Have you heard of menstruation?

  • Yes, I've heard of it. It's a kind of illness, right?

  • Illness?

  • Yes, I've heard that it's an illness. It mostly affects ladies.

  • Girls, you can at least raise your hands.

  • Say it.

  • Say.

  • I studied until I reached middle school,

  • but when I started having periods, it became really challenging.

  • The problem was that, when I got my period,

  • it was very tough for me to change clothes.

  • I had to go somewhere far off to change.

  • The cloth I was using became so wet,

  • I had to keep going out of my way to change it.

  • Then some men would hover around.

  • They kept looking at me, so I couldn't change in front of them.

  • I tried for one year after my period started,

  • hoping that something would change. When nothing changed...

  • then I dropped out.

  • We don't come to the temple during our periods.

  • We don't pray to any of the gods during our periods.

  • The elders in the house say that the prayer isn't heard,

  • no matter how much you pray.

  • It's me versus the entire village.

  • How can I manage alone?

  • They think, "She's madWhat's going through her mind?"

  • I mostly observed that girls don't have much freedom,

  • especially after their marriage.

  • We aren't encouraged to work or become independent.

  • That doesn't exist for us.

  • I want to get into the police force.

  • Why do you want to get into the police force?

  • To save me from marriage.

  • Because the goddess we pray to,

  • she's also a woman, just like us.

  • So, I don't agree with this rule

  • that woman should not enter the temple during menstruation

  • because they are believed to be dirty.

  • I don't think it's right.

  • Go to your homes!

  • I just find them at home.

  • They're just old cotton suits I don't use anymore.

  • In the evening, when no one's around,

  • I take the chance to throw it away.

  • Ruby and Jackie dig them out sometimes.

  • Out on the street.

  • It's very embarrassing.

  • Girls see that they're bleeding and use whatever cloth they can find.

  • Imagine how harmful and dangerous that is. It starts getting soaked.

  • Initially, in our meetings,

  • we used to tell them, "The cloth should be washed.

  • The cloth shouldn't be dirty."

  • Now, we are talking about pads.

  • There are a lot of things that still need to be changed.

  • A lot needs to change.

  • The daughter never talks to the motherthe wife never talks to the husband.

  • Friends don't talk to each other.

  • Menstruation is the biggest taboo in my country.

  • I'm Arunachalam Muruganantham,

  • the man who invented the low-cost sanitary napkin machine.

  • Our mission is creating India into a 100% napkin-using country

  • from the current level of less than ten percent.

  • There's a village called Kathikhera nearby.

  • You might have heard of it. It is pretty close.

  • A machine is being installed there. It's called a pad machine.

  • It's used to make padsYou know what a pad is, right?

  • Yes? No?

  • No!

  • I haven't even heard the name.

  • We see them on the TV and in the stores, but we can't afford them.

  • No one uses it in our family.

  • They say that if we wear pads, we'll be fine wherever we go.

  • Nobody would make fun of you for wearing a cloth or anything.

  • Would you use a pad if we gave it to you?

  • -I won't know how to use it. -It won't get wet!

  • Show me.

  • Peel from here?

  • How do you use it?

  • Hello! Switch off your phones, please. You'll be doing this on your own tomorrow.

  • Pay attention.

  • Suman, please observe what material he uses at each step.

  • Take notes.

  • This is our primary raw material to make the pads.

  • With your hands here, snap the lid shut like this.

  • Is everything clear till now, or does it look like magic to you?

  • All good? That's done.

  • Once you have done this three times, slide the tray out.

  • Go slow and then leave it.

  • Okay?

  • Put this around here and wrap it about ten to 20 times.

  • Lay it straight, press the pedal, and you'll get another cut.

  • You can do this, right? Now your pad is ready!

  • You'll teach us to make it?

  • Can I have a look?

  • Rekha, ask your uncle about thisDoes he know what it is?

  • -What do you mean? -What the machine is and what it does.

  • -He knows. -Ask him.

  • Uncle, do you know what this is?

  • No, I don't know what's going on here.

  • What do you think is going on here?

  • There's a machine here that makes those diapers.

  • Diapers for children. That's all he knows.

  • Yes, that's all I know.

  • You haven't told him about the machine that's being set up?

  • Okay.

  • Men in my family have always known what it is.

  • They're just not able to say it in front of you.

  • Uncle doesn't know. We told him it's a diaper machine.

  • You told him it's a diaper machine!

  • It makes that stuff for babies...

  • -I can't remember what the word is... -Pad for children.

  • Yes, "pad"!

  • I do want to tell them I'm working, but then he'll ask what kind of work...

  • So I can't bring it up with him.

  • The thing is, when there's patriarchy, it takes time

  • to talk about something related to women.

  • It's taking time even among us womenbut we'll get there.

  • Everyone must think I'm an actress for you to be recording me.

  • I wonder what tomorrow is gonna be like.

  • I know a girl from our village who now works for the Delhi Police.

  • Who was she before that?

  • She could have gotten married and remained unknown.

  • Now everyone knows her. The whole village knows her name.

  • Today, her father is known by her daughter's name.

  • Up until then, it was the other way around.

  • Look how much it has changed.

  • No one has a better life than her.

  • Times six, times nine, times one.

  • So, what do we do? It's 12.

  • How much is it? It's nine. Nine will be multiplied by two.

  • Nine twos are 18.

  • Next is...

  • Let's go.

  • The biggest problem here is electricity. We could be out of power at any time.

  • Sometimes we stay in the dark for two days in a row.

  • The electrician's number is written out here.

  • Sometimes there's electricity at night,

  • and we rush to open the unit

  • and turn this one machine on to prepare raw material.

  • But only if we haven't met our daily goal.

  • It's not safe to work at night.

  • When you get out, you have to speak.

  • It's no problem.

  • -Remove this. -No.

  • Sometimes the atmosphere is more relaxed, and we have a good laugh.

  • This is our timetable. Working hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • No one can visit us for chit-chat.

  • They sign at the time of entry and exit.

  • We do this ondaily basis.

  • Here they are.

  • How many are there?

  • These and those behind you are around 18,000 pads...

  • -Eighteen thousand? -Yes!

  • It will be a lot of trouble.

  • It's looking pretty. It's an ordinary thing, but it's pretty.

  • Suman, how about we get a rack and display these for the visitors?

  • We had our reasons behind the name "Fly."

  • We have installed this machine for women.

  • So, now we want women to rise and fly.

  • We have a unit which employs women

  • to make sanitary pads for their livelihood.

  • Now that the pads are done,

  • we are looking for places to sell them.

  • We will talk about its quality and price.

  • We'll explain the difference between our pads and others.

  • Okay?

  • There are other stores around. Here, here, and a couple more up the road.

  • Are you watching?

  • This one doesn't drip.

  • Do you see the difference?

  • Our pad can soak up more than the other pad.

  • Guys! Please go outside.

  • -Whoever is available. -Goudan!

  • How are you, Goudan?

  • These are pads.

  • -Is anyone home? -See, I don't have any money.

  • Please come. I won't bite.

  • Brother, we have set up a unit for making sanitary pads.

  • Girls have a hard time buying pads from shops...

  • because there are a lot of men around.

  • It would certainly be easier for them

  • to get pads from another woman.

  • We won't have to go knocking on doors in the future.

  • People will come to us.

  • Okay, you're pregnant. You don't need it now.

  • -What about you? -I also don't need them.

  • -Are you pregnant, too? -I recently delivered a baby.

  • It's difficult, but we'll keep trying.

  • We just have to work harder.

  • The other pad is beautiful to look at, whereas ours is rather ugly.

  • You have to decide whether you prefer beauty or quality.

  • Our pad is like a man who is not good-looking,

  • but it is competent.

  • It doesn't look very pretty.

  • -Is it good to use? -Yes, it is good to use.

  • Have you sold anything before?

  • I've never sold anything. That's why I'm finding it difficult.

  • If you buy pads from the market...

  • it will be expensive, and...

  • and...

  • -Of lesser quality. -Of lesser quality.

  • So, now you tell me, who is going to use our pads?

  • Does anyone want to buy this pack right now?

  • -Who wants it? -Me.

  • This side will stick to our panties.

  • Why don't you come down and have a look?

  • -I'm seeing them from here. -Okay!

  • Would you like to buy them?

  • I'll take one pack.

  • ...fifty, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. Two-hundred and ten.

  • Our first earnings.

  • We came here to give a demonstration only.

  • We never thought we'd be able to sell out here.

  • These are our first earnings.  180 rupees on our very first day.

  • -Okay? -Okay.

  • Money in my pocket.

  • If this machine works, what's the scale that you're looking at?

  • I'm thinking big, Manadakini.

  • If you share it with somebody, it sounds like a crazy dream.

  • It makes pads. A lot of people know about it.

  • -We buy them from there. -Has anyone ever tried any other pad?

  • No. We were embarrassed to go buy them.

  • If they require more people to work on the pad machine,

  • then we would want to work there.

  • I just went to have a look. Then I started asking about the process.

  • Then I asked, "What is this for?"

  • "What happens after it comes out of this?"

  • Then there's a machine you press that puts the pad together.

  • Then I asked, "What about this one?"

  • Eventually, I made one myself.

  • I made a good pad.

  • I gained respect in the eyes of my husband,

  • since I was producing instead of sitting idle at home.

  • It feels good that he respects me.

  • My younger brother came to visit.