Giving her  five

Vinaya Patil
Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The Souled Store in collaboration with GiveHer5 recently launched a range of merchandise, proceeds from which go to the GiveHer5 NGO that provides reusable sanitary napkins to rural girls and women

A large percentage of women in India can’t afford sanitary napkins, causing them to miss up to five days of school or work every month. The Souled Store, in collaboration with GiveHer5, decided to change this. In March this year, they launched a limited edition range of merchandise, which includes 12 ‘Roses Are Red’ poems. These poems highlight various gender-based issues faced by women on a daily basis. “All profits from this campaign go to GiveHer5, a social initiative that has developed Saafkins™- an antibacterial, reusable, washable period panty, that’s also affordable,” says Rohin Samtaney, co-founder and director of The Souled Store. One t-shirt sold is equal to one girl’s yearly requirement of sanitary napkins. He tells us more...

Where did this title ‘Roses are red’ come from?
To create awareness about something like this among the urban population, we needed to give it a quirky touch that people could relate to. Roses are Red poems have been around for the longest time, everyone knows about them, they are still used online for funny rhymes. We thought coming up with short, effective poems that essentially talk about women empowerment, that could be put on tees would be the best way to raise awareness about this issue and get people to support these women.

Whose brainchild is this and when did it begin?
When we came across GiveHer5 and learnt about this startling fact, we were shocked by how high the number actually is and also how unaware most of us are. The Souled Store has a strong online presence with a forte in marketing. We wanted to use this strength to contribute to this cause. The campaign was a brainchild of our marketing team which worked very hard over a couple of months to create something effective and substantial.

Which girls do you support through this initiative - rural, under-privileged - and how do you decide this?
We’ve tied up with NGO GiveHer5 for this campaign. GiveHer5 mainly works with women in rural India. Through their expansive network of corporate and NGO partners, they distribute Saafkins, hold informative workshops, and perform critical research to ensure that women have equal opportunity to attend school and work, closing the education and income gaps caused by period poverty.

What are Saafkins and how does the entire supply chain work?
Engineered by Livinguard Technologies, Saafkins are an affordable alternative to sanitary pads. They are the world’s first 12-hour reusable sanitary solution. Due to their proprietary disinfecting textile treatment, they are antimicrobial and skin safe (no chemicals, no toxins). Saafkins also utilise a special stain-release technology, which makes the four-layer panty easy to wash and reuse.
Each donation of Rs 200 will guarantee a set of two antimicrobial, reusable Saafkins to a girl in need in India. This set will last for an entire year, so she doesn’t miss school or work during her period. The donation will be delivered to one of their NGO partners, who will place an order for Saafkins through Livinguard. After receiving their order from Livinguard, their partners will distribute the Saafkins to the needy.

How do the logistics work?
The Souled Store is an online brand selling pop culture merchandise like t-shirt, boxers, t-shirt dresses for women, backpacks, notebooks, badges, stickers etc. In five short years, we have organically grown to become the largest brand in India selling pop culture merchandise in terms of the number of licences we own and the scale at which we operate. Apart from collaborating with top global entities like Warner Bros, Disney, WWE, we place a strong emphasis on collaborating with India’s top youth icons - stand-up comedians, indie music artists, music festivals, and franchises from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pro Kabaddi League.
The logistics weren’t a problem for us to handle as we have the manufacturing capacity and strength to make these t-shirts already. The designs are displayed on the website and the t-shirts in our warehouse. When a customer places an order, it is packed in our warehouse and shipped out to the customer.

What’s next?
We are always doing our bit in smaller ways. With Roses are Red, we thought we could make our idea much bigger and create a greater impact. In the future, we definitely aim to create and execute more campaigns like these. We’ve currently raised enough money to provide yearly sanitary protection for 1,000 plus women.
The campaign has been immensely effective. We’ve got support from all corners of the country and also from various celebrities (Dia Mirza, Rahul Bose, Tanmay Bhat, Miss Malini, Kim Sharma etc), bloggers and influencers (Aranya Johar, Alicia Souza, Roshni Kumar, Supriya Joshi), women-centric organisations and other NGOs who work in the space of women empowerment.

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