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Eco-friendly feminine products bring hope to rural India

New biodegradable options give women greater comfort and freedom

Tarun Bothra and Kristin Kagetsu of Saathi Pads promote their products at the India Environment Festival in Ahmedabad in February. (Courtesy of Saathi Pads)

SILIGURI, India "My daughters shall not lead my life," said Binita, shredding pine wood pulp with her fingers. She meant two very different yet, for her, related things: They will not be driven into prostitution, and they will enjoy better feminine hygiene.

Binita, the mother of three school-age daughters, recently gave up plying her trade in Kolkata's Kalighat red-light district after more than 15 years. She is one of 12 women engaged by New Light, a local nongovernmental organization, to make compostable sanitary pads under the brand name Anandi as part of a project called Mukti, meaning "liberation."

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