Let’s celebrate and embrace menstruation: Monica Bindra

With a mission to transform menstruating women’s experience into a sustainable reality, Monica Bindra, Founder and COO, Mohar Organics, is leading the forefront with Laiqa sanitary napkins.

‘Those five days’ are perhaps the most difficult days a woman goes through each month. A healthy and a clean period is the basic that a woman needs apart from emotional relaxation. Claiming to be highly absorbent and safe to use, most of conventional disposable sanitary pads available off the shelves are 90 per cent plastic. Yes, you read it right, 90 per cent plastic! And what are the benefits of having plastic so close to our sensitive skin, round the clock for as long as 120 hours. Don’t we know how detrimental plastic can be for our skins and health?

Monica Bindra, Co-Founder and COO, Mohar Organics, is striving hard with an ambition to reinvent the feminine hygiene scene in the country, by bringing in sanitary pads that are eco-friendly and are made of premium quality so as to empower women with a choice for their monthly necessity.

Community education

“Laiqa sanitary pads are eco-friendly, superb in quality, are chlorine free, and are pH compatible. They are fragrance-free and come with feather-soft texture as our prime focus is to provide healthy alternatives as compared to the already existing sanitary pads. We also  focus on the overall wellbeing while ensuring a variety of choices to meet individual needs of the women. Laiqa are the nine-layered sanitary pads which lock in the flow, reducing the chances of leaks and stains while providing a sense of choice and comfort,” says the astute businesswoman.

Throwing light why it is immensely important to educate the communities about a hygienic and a healthy menstrual period, Monica reiterates, “It is the reproductive health of people that keeps a civilisation healthy.
And in order to be truly healthy, we need to impart quality knowledge to the people to make them understand and aware of certain prerogatives – What is happening to their body; The options that are available to stay healthy; What options are best suited for their bodies; and how to access these options safely and affordably. And, when we talk about menstruation per se, we, as society haven’t been able to achieve Option 1 with the maximum chunk of our population. So, how do you think women can make choices about their bodies when they don’t even have complete or accurate information about their anatomy? This is, perhaps, why menstrual education is crucial and utmost import.”

An alumna of BITS Pilani, Monica is a chemical engineer with more than 15 years of experience behind her back. Her extensive experience in key leadership roles made her channel her knowledge and experience in market research to support feminine hygiene in India by founding Laiqa in February 2019 along with her fellow co-founders.

Breaking all taboos

Trying to break the taboos around menstruation, her persevering entrepreneurial journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. The urban populace still doesn’t know much about the stereotypes, myths and taboos around menstruation that further leads to stigmatization of women living in the villages. Women in villages still do not have access to sanitary pads and are habituated towards using varied things during those five days. Throwing light on how we ‘educated ones’ can make things better for them, Monica shares, “Due to the twin evils – lack of hygiene and education – young girls are quarantined in animal sheds and outhouses during those ‘five days’. While these girls are menstruating, they are absolutely not allowed in the communal areas. Therefore, I firmly believe the society needs to sensitize towards their needs and make improvements. And this needs to begin at the grassroot level. There’s an active need to have better sanitation of washrooms in schools, a regular water supply, and frequent waste collection. It will be beneficial to run educational programmes for those living in the villages to change their perception and outlook towards women health. While most of these efforts are governmental, but as educated individuals, it is imperative for us to understand, take time out of our busy schedules to volunteer and of course, donate to the social sector.”

Monica ardently believes the society needs to adopt a proactive approach and accelerate towards the future. “Success is dependent on the effort, and I believe no step is small. Begin with talking your house help (maids), or the ayaas in your child’s school. Talk to them, their children, and urge them to use sanitary pads. Introduce them to different types of sanitary products, and create better understanding.” Great thought, I say!

Good for Her, Good for Earth

Moving forward with the motto ‘Good for Her, Good for Earth’ Laiqa’s community outreach programmes are centred around giving, contributing and helping women who cannot help themselves. The Laiqa care initiative called  ‘Buy One Donate One’ contributes one pad for every pack that is sold to help the the underprivileged girls and women in India. Divulging a few quick tips that help her manage the business well, Monica says, “We are working with a simple goal – empowering while supporting the environment. We are working towards creating an ecosystem of menstrual hygiene products that are ‘good for her, good for earth’.

According to Monica, womenpreneurs can excel in their professional lives while creating a balance in their personal lives by switching off from the routine, periodically! “I am trying to write myself a life driver by extraordinary self-belief and ambition. And as you tread ahead, stress becomes an integral part of the journey. Ultimately, deleting stress boils down to your attitude towards hurdles. I take things as they come and adapt rather than worry about the things that are not in control,” Monica suggests. “One should try to delegate tasks to other team members as well, as this would ensure that you can handle smaller tasks with greater accuracy. This is essential for the overall project to succeed,” she asserts, adding, “It is imperative to designate a specific block of the day for personal and professional activities and do not let one seep into the other. Even if you are juggling many responsibilities at work, I firmly believe that you can always take time out to spend time with your loved ones and do the things that make you happy. Paradoxically, taking time out for leisure makes you a better professional because it helps in rejuvenating the mind and body, making you sharper and more efficient.”

No doubt, I have a stressful job and to keep stress at bay, I try to compartmentalise issues on a priority basis. I usually deal with the biggest stressors first and then work down the list. This leaves me with a sense of achievement after each task is complete that serves as fuel to keep me going. I begin my day with meditation and deep breathing. Taking a walk in the open and exercising helps me to stay balanced and gives me that inner strength to stay calm.”

Perfection and womanhood are two sides of the same coin. A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is the journey where she will become strong. Monica reminiscence as she shares, “I have had my fair share of struggles because of being a perfectionist. Over all these years and with burgeoning experience, I learnt the importance of letting go. And now, I firmly believe that it’s okay to not to be perfect. After all, life is all about little imperfections.”

Words of wisdom

  • It’s very critical to spend quality time with oneself.
  • To pause from the overwhelming rush of life, take a step back – check the direction you are heading into and amend the parts of your routine that you are unhappy with.
  • It is important to not be too self absorbed.
  • Do spend time making your loved ones happy!

Laiqa cares

FOR THE PEOPLE

Laiqa is doing its best to get to the root of understanding the systemic causes of period poverty. They work with a few villages in Uttarakhand and with the following NGOs: Deepalaya, Dream Girl Foundation, Wishes and Blessings, to distribute their products and organise grassroots menstrual awareness workshops. Through these programs, they draw a better understanding of ground realities and how to achieve period equity in a realistic way.

FOR THE PLANET

Laiqa wants to be part of the tectonic shift in reducing period pollution. Formulating their pads with a unique reduced plastic design, Laiqa ensures not only that the product itself is more sustainable, but take a more holistic approach beyond the plastic debate. At every point in the process, the brand takes steps to ensure that the way their products are made, it reduces harm wherever possible. 

Shop Laiqa products: https://mylaiqa.com/

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