Never had thought to build a pad emporium, but I love it!
Because of a continuous passionate team of women that have shaped it from an idea to what it is right now. Because it enables girls and women to beat waste and have happier bodies. Because the wide spectrum of activities make it rich work; from sourcing to product design, menstrual education and the change that brings to girls, to connecting with environmental warriors that make my heart beat, to commercial terrains which we never imagined we would need to look into (aaaaahh!!), to how I relate to menstruation and myself. Because of new exiting connections yet to make (dreaming of organic cotton farmers).
And I am grateful to have Kathy, the constant person through all of this: I love you too.
I personally experienced the shift from disposables to using cloth washable pads in 1999 as revolutionary. I could not have logically anticipated what a profoundly restorative impact it would have on my whole relationship to my body. I was so excited by this “discovery” that I became somewhat fanatical in my efforts to encourage other women to also make the shift. This passion was further ignited as a by-product of being surrounded by the natural beauty of Auroville which fuelled both my awareness of the preciousness and threats to our earth and a heartfelt wish to preserve its integrity. In 2010 I was blessed to meet Jessamijn and together we co-founded Eco Femme. We quickly discovered a shared passion for women’s empowerment and ecology that evolved into the idea to start a project to bring cloth pads to India to counteract the disturbing increase in sanitary waste that we saw littering roadsides. We recognised through our early research that education – especially for adolescent girls – would be an important value addition to the products. We had on our doorstep Auroville Village Action Group who had a willing pool of rural women self help group members who were eager to generate a livelihood through tailoring. The convergence of all these threads created the basis for what Eco Femme is today. My focus in Eco Femme is co-ordinating the not for profit work. It gives me immense joy to be part of such an exciting project, working with a passionate and committed team of women bridging the world with this simple but powerful little product that we believe has the power to transform the planet, one woman, one period at a time.
I am originally from the UK. I first became aware of reusable menstrual products whilst using cloth diapers on my son in 2010 and converted to a menstrual cup. I moved to India and joined Auroville in 2013. I became aware of Eco Femme’s beautiful products whilst doing my weekly shopping. The pantyliners are the perfect addition to my cup. Using reusable products has transformed the way I experience my period and view myself as a woman. My only regret is that I didn’t make the switch sooner! I had the pleasure of joining the Eco Femme team in July 2014.
I work within the field of communications, primarily on our social media platforms, editing our website, taking photos, coordinating the newsletter and handling general enquiries as well as working with our ever growing ambassador network. My passion in life and what inspires my work within this organisation is the need to live a more environmentally conscious life. Making the switch to sustainable menstrual products is a big part of that, after all, half the world’s population will menstruate during their lifetime!
My own personal journey towards an empowered menstrual experience began with personal health issues that led me to question and re-asses my relation with my body.
I am experienced in project-managing large scale environmental projects, from concept stage to execution. My career in the environmental field, spanning 10 years, has taken me to a variety of interesting places ; from population genetics and wild life conservation in India to working for large organisations in Melbourne, Australia, on environmental sustainability, community engagement and energy efficiency projects.
I have been living in Auroville for just over a year, and at Eco-femme, I bring my skills and passion for the environment and women empowerment.
I remember a TV-commercial that was being screened while I was living in Mumbai as a teenager in the late 90s. It was promoting a switch from cloth to disposable sanitary pads as being a step towards modernity for young Indian woman. It ended with a depreciating outcry that cloth was backward: “Mom! cloth is for curtains!”.
I came from a western country and was used to tampons and plastic pads from the moment my girl peer group started having their periods. None of us had ever considered using cloth. Now, a few years later I am back living in India, Auroville. After experiencing the green revolution life style in Europe, after studying International Business and Cultural Studies and then Osteopathic Medicine, education, health and environmental issues have become a natural focus in my life: self love and love for our planet are the same. Now I am also part of our great and inspiring Eco Femme team, encouraging the very opposite with my input to marketing and communcations: the switch to reusable cloth pads.
When I saw the Eco Femme posters in Auroville shops and wash rooms, I thought I should shift to washable cloth pads to save our earth from polluting by not dumping of sanitary pads. Cloth pads saves money too! These thoughts brought me to Eco Femme! On my first day in the office, I felt so welcomed with big smiles from all the women working there. My soul said this is the place for me, I have started for a new journey! For my next period I manged to shift to cloth pads. I felt so happy and grateful to be part of Eco Femme to see the first shift in me. Started to share about it with my family, friends, neighbors, relatives.
I work very closely with Eco Femme partners to introduce the cloth pads and their care, among our rural disadvantaged girls from various government schools and social institutions through our Menstrual Health Education program.
I am one of the Auroville children who were born, brought up and studied in the International Township of Auroville, where ‘certificates’ are not the goal in education.
I made the shift to reusable menstrual products more than 3 years ago after being introduced to Eco Femme through a friend. When I saw that there was a position available at Eco Femme for a facilitator and trainer to work with girls and women, my heart jumped. I instantly knew I wanted to do it and explore empowered womanhood through the lens of menstrual education.
When I joined Eco Femme in May 2015, I first wanted to be part of the social and education team and not the commercial one. I had a bad stereotype on marketing: people making ‘bad money’ using sneaking manipulative methods. But Eco Femme needed someone in the commercial team and I had studied in this field. I agreed and was supposed to stay 5months. And here I am almost 2 years later! Still in the commercial team I realized that I’m actually doing a social job too! My objective is not money but convincing girls from around the world to protect their own body and the Earth. It’s close to advocacy. AND the benefits from the sales are supporting the education programs and free pads for young Indian girls! What’s best?
I also must say that Eco Femme’s office is a magic place thanks to Jessamijn and Kathy. Everyone who volunteer here can feel it, the atmosphere is sooo different from a regular office, here we eat sweets, hug, support and simply love each other. We are a tribe.
Hello! This is Pavithra Devi from Eco Femme working as an administrator. Feeling excited and happy in working with the Eco Femme team. Now it is over 2 years for me in Eco Femme but I feel like I’ve worked here for more than this!
Really feeling blessed to be a member of Eco Femme. Happy to work here for many years to come. :)
Ramani: I’m from Auroville and work in Eco Femme as one of the women who quality checks and packs the pads. Washable pads help to keep the surrounding environment clean and litter free and I feel proud that I’m in a part of this process. The workplace inspires me to be here as the team members are very friendly, caring and willing to help in understanding. I also feel a sense of belonging to the Eco Femme project as it is a project for women and their empowerment.
Sudha: I work with Eco Femme along with Ramani assisting in quality checking and packaging the pads. I feel very happy to be doing this work, which I am sure that the work atmosphere and the cause contributes to. Doing a work which helps to overcome womens’ issues makes me very proud. I feel that’s why working at Eco Femme is important to me.
Vasuki: I’m from Kottakari, a village next to Auroville. I have been with Eco Femme for the past one year. I work along with Ramani and Sudha to check and pack the pads. Working at Eco Femme makes me happy and independent. I love the work atmosphere and the team who treat me like family.