Britain based Indian schoolgirl aims to bring end to period stigma

Through the launch of sustainable, resuable period panties, Saathi is a major vehicle for sustainable female empowerment.

Saathi, a socially conscious menstrual hygiene brand committed to fighting period poverty across the world through sustainable, reusable period panties, has made its much-awaited ‘big reveal’ in the region. Conceptualized and designed by a young female entrepreneur Ahana Kotibhaskar, an 11th-grade student at Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire, in England, Saathi was inspired after Ahana visited India in 2022 and saw first-hand the impact that period poverty has on the lives of young girls and women, especially in rural areas.

Most low-income / rural women are not aware of or even able to afford hygienic sanitary products when menstruating. On top of this, the global Pink Tax, a tendency to have an additional markup on goods and services marketed to women, making female products cost disproportionately higher compared to similar products for men, doesn’t help either.

During her visit to the South Asia nation, Ahana noticed that due to financial constraints and cultural taboos, young girls and women who experience period stigma are exposed to a range of negative consequences from social isolation, including increased health risks. Lack of access to appropriate sanitary products also limits their educational and economic opportunities as they have to skip school and work during their monthly cycles, increasing their chances of being unproductive, incompetent and made redundant.

Saathi is doing a little to upend this dynamic in a sustainable way. It is a brand that aims to bring a sustainable positive transformation in the world when people, young and old, and communities work together. Saathi’s tagline ‘Better Together’ promotes menstrual health and safety in a sustainable way and highlights the brand’s capacity to bring meaningful change, which is its raison d’etre. Every time a customer makes a purchase, one-period panty is given to a girl in need. To that end, Saathi has also reached out and partnered with the KCS Foundation in Bihar, India, one of the poorest and most rural states in Eastern India, to help educate girls and women about menstrual hygiene and provide them with Saathi’s products.

“Saathi is more than just a brand. It’s a movement,” says founder Ahana. “We are committed to making a positive impact on the world by providing access to menstrual hygiene products, promoting sustainability, and empowering women. We believe that every woman deserves to feel comfortable during her period, regardless of her socio-economic status. We want to fight against period poverty and educate women from low-education and income rural areas on the importance of menstrual hygiene while offering a more environmentally-friendly and economically acceptable alternative to regular products. But we can only do so with the support of our customers.”

Saathi means ‘companion’ in Hindi and with that association, these panties are designed to support the wearer by providing comfort, safety, and freedom while taking away their worry about period-related mishaps.  With its recent launch, it hopes to inspire women to choose a sanitary alternative that’s better for the environment while helping each of its customers play their role in bettering the lives of others. As a more sustainable product, the panties last for at least a year, if not more, and therefore cost two to three times less, as compared to pads and tampons annually.  

Made with super-absorbed bamboo fiber fabric and designed to hold up to four tampons worth of flow, the underwear looks and feels like regular panties. Its four absorption layers wick moisture, prevent leaks, control odor, and are super absorbent. Each Saathi panty is priced at only AED 40 with a lifespan of roughly two years.

All orders can be made on Saathi’s Instagram saathi_bt and customers will soon be able to order the products via WhatsApp as well. Join the fight against period poverty with Saathi and make a difference today.

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