This Mumbai NGO has an invite to The Royal Wedding!

By: Rukmini Chopra

Published On: May 19, 2018

Sometimes, fairy tales do come true. Operating from a corner at Govandi, Mumbai, this NGO wouldn’t have imagined to be associated with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in any way, let alone their royal wedding, which will be taking place today. 

This is the story of Myna Mahila Foundation, which is the only foreign organization out of the 7 that Meghan and Prince Harry have picked as recipients of charity, for their wedding. 

The founder of the NGO, Suhani Jalota, will be attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding that is taking place today, along with three other representatives from the organization.

The beginning 

Jalota was a student at Duke University and in 2015, she started the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization that manufactures sanitary napkins and promotes menstrual hygiene. The 23-year-old started this NGO as a part of her entrepreneurial fellowship. She was awarded the ‘college woman of the year award’ along with nine other students and each of them were assigned a mentor. 

As a result, Jalota came to be associated with Meghan Markle, an American actress, popular for her role as Rachel Zane in television drama series Suits. Meghan was intrigued by Jalota’s organization and even visited the workers on her trip to India in January, last year.

Meghan and Prince Harry have a list of seven NGOs that they would want their wedding guests to donate to and Myna Mahila has made the royal cut! 

Speaking to The Times of India, an elated Jalota said, “I am excited to attend the wedding along with three other members from our NGO. I am also looking forward to meeting Priyanka Chopra.”

About Myna Mahila Foundation 

 The NGO employs women from the slums in Govandi to make sanitary napkins. Jalota and her team have set up a workplace in the ground as well as first floor of a building near the local slums. Though the NGO has machines to assist the pad making process, 70 percent of the work is required to be done manually. 

Aside from manufacturing these pads, the organization also distributes them to other slums within the city, at subsidised rates. The workers also promote menstrual hygiene and organize health camps every three months. 

The problem 

Millions of women in India live in extreme poverty and do not have the money to buy the regular sanitary napkins.  As a result, they are forced to use cloth rags. According to the NGO’s research, there are only 2.3 percent of women who wash the rags, as they are afraid to do so in crowded households, where the topic of menstruation is a taboo. This results to severe infections and even cervical cancer.

There are other NGOs like Myna Mahila Foundation, that are catering to these women and providing them with hygienic resources. 

Here’s a story about NGO New Light India, that crowdfunded with Impact Guru to make sanitary napkins accessible to women living in remote villages. 

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