Anju Bisht, also known as pad-woman of India and a native of Kollam city in Kerala, is one among the 75 women honoured as Women Transforming India by the NITI Aayog. She is associated with Amrita SeRVe (Saukhyam Reusable Pad), which make reusable menstrual pads from banana fibre, which comes from agro-waste.
Bisht and her team are the first in the world to make such pads. Her work was inspired as a method to decrease waste substantially, and the immense impact disposable pads have on the environment.
Bisht and Amrita SeRVe's focus on providing eco-friendly and low-cost solutions for menstrual hygiene resulted in the development of Saukhyam Reusable Pads from banana fibre and cotton cloth.
Saukhyam Reusable Pads have won several accolades and sold online with exports to countries like UK, Germany, USA, Kuwait and Spain.
Their vision is that the exact high-quality pad they export elsewhere should be made available to girls and women at very affordable prices in rural areas of India.
According to PIB, Up till now, they have distributed and sold over 5,00,000 pads, contributing towards preventing the emission of over 2000 tons of Carbon dioxide equivalent annually. It has further aided the elimination of an estimated 43,750 tons of non-biodegradable menstrual waste.
Anju Bisht is the founding member of the Women in Indian Social Entrepreneurship Network. In March 2020, she was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the "exceptional impact, clarity and growth of work dedicated to furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals" presented by the Women for India and Social Founder Network coalition.
Also, the reusable pad was awarded the most innovative product by the National Institute of Rural Development, and Bisht is often referred to as the "padwoman of India".
SeRVe have reached around 4000 women who have switched from regular menstrual products to the reusable product. Women Earth Alliance estimates that with every 1000 users, almost 35,226,360 plastic bags have been saved from being used and discarded into landfills and ultimately causing pollution.