School going girls who have reached puberty have a harrowing experience in classes during their monthly cycle - thanks to ignorance, lack of clean facilities and sanitary pads. 

Although the Karnataka government had announced schemes for free sanitary pads, these ideas are still far from the reach of many girls, especially in rural areas.

Realising that there is a significant gap in the distribution of the scheme,  Relon, a firm dealing with cartridge making, has allotted funds under its corporate social responsibility scheme to give free sanitary pads in Bengaluru and Gangavthi in North Karnataka.

Praveen Nayak, founder and director of the firm, said that they had already registered 100 beneficiaries through the AAYOD Seva Trust, who would be sponsored with free sanitary kits. They hope to cover 5,000 members by the end of December. The scheme costs Rs 499 per head for the NGO. 

So far 150 girls from BPL families in Gangavathi taluk in North Karnataka and 100 girls in Shanthinagar Assembly of Bengaluru have been covered under the scheme.

"By 2020 our target is to reach 5 million BPL beneficiaries. Just like how my company has given its share of CSR fund for this cause, donors will be encouraged in this cause," he said and added, this kind of initiative would mean, many poor schools going girls will not drop out.

Washable and reusable pads to be launched in August

The firm also unveiled samples of reusable and washable pads. These have two-fold benefits. Not only will such pads lower the costs, but they will also help overcome another problem - The shyness many girls feel when having to buy the pads from shops. 

"The pads are organic and made or pure cotton. It is unbleached. This new pad is chemical free, and it does not cause any irritation. It is tested, and it can be washed at least 70 times,"  he said.

Lauding the efforts of the trust,  MLC Tara Anuradha said that in India there is 35.5 crore under the menstrual category, but roughly only 12.1 percent use sanitary napkins. 

"For school going girls, especially in government schools, the menstrual cycle would mean missing five days of school. An initiative like this - where the free sanitary pad is given - will help in giving health and confidence to young girls," she said.