Dharti Mata

The way to Eco positive happy period in Nepal.

Environment | Women & Girls

Enterprise/business philosophy and objectives of the founder 

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Starting with an issue deemed sensitive by the general public, sanitary napkins, Dharti Mata’s founder Claire Lin has changed habits relating to women’s menstrual product use by manufacturing cloth sanitary napkins. Immediately after graduating from university, Claire Lin found work at an NGO, and was given the opportunity to go to Nepal as a volunteer. While chatting with the villagers one day, she asked them what kind of worries local Nepalese women had. She was surprised to discover that women’s monthly menstruation was seen as unclean and that there were no products like sanitary napkins available, as a result of a lack of understanding of the body’s physiology among women and villagers. In this context, Claire Lin began her career in Nepal, establishing a workshop in which she taught local women how to use floral cloth to make reusable sanitary napkins, and, in this way, changing the usage habits of the past.

In Sanskrit, Dharti Mata means “Mother Earth” Mother Earth nurtures the whole creation.
However, modern society makes endless demands on women and nature, thus harming the environment and threatening women’s well being.They hope that through their work, they are able to rekindle a feminine awakening and a love and care for Mother Earth.

History of development/business model 

“Monthly menstruation accompanies a woman for 40 years. If a woman is able to take care of herself during that time, the influence of little changes is enormous.” Training local Nepalese women to sew their own sanitary napkins is how founder Claire Lin has described the efforts of Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop. Not only does Dharti Mata provide local job opportunities, but it also uses local materials in its manufacturing. As well as strengthening localisation, this also means that self-sufficiency is promoted. Of the Nepalese women who live in traditional villages, 80% use old saris and used fabric to make cloth sanitary napkins, which brings cleanliness and hygiene concerns. Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop has progressed further in promoting organic cotton manufacturing, advocating the use of hygienic sanitary napkins based on the concept of fair trade in the hope of changing the public’s consumption habits.

In addition, Dharti Mata holds local exhibitions featuring cloth sanitary napkins and coloured diagrams of the uterus, and invites local residents to discuss social issues that have been regarded as taboo in the past. At the exhibition site, there are men who share stories of being warm in their mother’s womb and women who come to share the real experience of menstruation, so that a normal physiological phenomenon is no longer seen as taboo, women’s confidence in their own body is enhanced, and family and friends can gain a correct understanding of physiological knowledge.

Creating social value/mitigating social problems 

Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop has brought the production of female sanitary napkins into villages. Through workshops and exhibitions, Nepalese women are given work opportunities and a new understanding of their own body. At the same time, health, environmental protection and social issues are also touched upon. The normal sanitary napkins that we tend to use take 500 to 600 years to completely break down. Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop does not directly produce a large number of disposable sanitary napkins, instead using organic cotton to produce sanitary napkins that take into consideration both environmental protection and hygiene.

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