Limited access to affordable hygiene products forces an estimated 80 percent of women in India to use unhygienic forms of menstrual protection. For women in rural communities, access is even more limited and significantly impairs quality of life and education. Every year nearly 23 percent of girls and young women in India drop out of school because of a lack of available menstrual products or awareness of safe menstruation practices.
Solution and Impact
Former banker and leadership coach turned-entrepreneur Sahil Dharia founded India-based Soothe Healthcare in 2012 after considering the negative effects of girls missing school due to menstruation and the benefits of expanding access to hygiene products. DFC financing will help Soothe support the expanded manufacturing of affordable menstrual products and grow its distribution network to better reach under-served women in non-urban areas.
Soothe also strives to improve health literacy and offers a women’s hygiene education program that has reached more than 300,000 girls.
The project, which was approved through DFC’s Portfolio for Impact and Innovation, advances DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative as well as DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, which empowers women with the tools to care for and learn about their health.