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In pictures: Building a better sanitary napkin in India

Tamil Nadu's Mother Care uses old-school technology, face-to-face delivery to bring feminine hygiene products to rural women at a lower price

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Kalyani Senthil, left, and Manimegalai Velasamy – two of the co-owners of Mother Care Sanitary Napkins in Tirupur, India – discuss their product with Arunachalam Muruganantham, a self-taught entrepreneur who invented a machine to make low-cost pads.

STEPHANIE NOLEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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Mr. Muruganantham inspects the production process with some of the owners of Mother Care.

STEPHANIE NOLEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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The women of Mother Care shred cellulose by hand – it's the raw ingredient in the low-cost sanitary pads they produce in their tiny workshop. Only about one-10th of Indian women have access to these kinds of products; the rest rely on traditional alternatives such as rags and newspapers when they are menstruating.

STEPHANIE NOLEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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Ms. Senthil, left, and Deepa Villgari are two of the co-owners of Mother Care. Their machine can make about 120 low-cost pads per hour. They rely on a network of local women to sell them across the community for a few rupees’ profit on each pack.

STEPHANIE NOLEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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Mother Care staff get ready to deliver their low-cost feminine hygiene products to local women who will sell them in small communities in Tamil Nadu.

STEPHANIE NOLEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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