We live in a country where menstrual health is still (shamefully) a taboo, one where mothers almost never talk to their teenage daughters about menstruation. Furthermore, poor households can rarely afford sanitary napkins which forces the women to resort to other highly unhygienic options such as rags and clothes. In that context, the work of ‘Resurgence’ and its innovative idea of producing low-cost biodegradable sanitary napkins is inspiring and it does not come as a surprise that it won the ‘Most Inspiring Startup’ award at the recently concluded Women in Leadership Fest 2018.
In a nutshell, Resurgence is a social business formed by a dynamic group of four passionate and hardworking students: Ivana Asfara, Rafayet Khan, and Naziba Wafa and Mashiyat Rahman. Led by Mashiyat Rahman, who acts as the team leader, these students from BRAC University are striving to turn their idea into reality. The journey of Resurgence started with the four friends coming together to participate in the prestigious Hult Prize competition 2017 in Shanghai for which they had to visit low-income households in order to come up with a sustainable solution for a social problem. While at it, they understood how big the problem of hygiene and sanitation is in such households.
According to a survey titled Bangladesh National Baseline Survey 2014, a staggering 86 percent of teenage students tend to use old rags and only a mere 12 percent clean them with soap. Resurgence is, therefore, working tirelessly to provide solution for this segment and address the issue by mass producing its uniquely designed sanitary napkin.
The startup’s biggest achievement was when its CFO and co-founder, Ivana Asfara represented Resurgence when it won a national competition titled ‘a2i Udhbhaboker Khoje’ to secure a significant amount of seed funding. The initiative has managed to garner applause from some of the biggest names in the development sector including the likes of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairman of the largest NGO in the world, BRAC and Nobel Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus. Moreover, the honourable ambassador of France and Denmark were delighted to see the prototypes while visiting the Resurgence stall at WIL Fest 2018.
Using easily-accessible aggressive plant species which would otherwise have been a burden on the ecosystem, sanitary napkins made by Resurgence are not only significantly cheaper in comparison to other napkins in the market but also eco-friendly considering the biodegradability of the material being used.
Furthermore, the startup employs women in the production process, creating sustainable employment opportunities.
Resurgence is, therefore, working tirelessly to provide solution for this segment and address the issue by mass producing its uniquely designed sanitary napkin
While the startup is still in its initial formative years, Resurgence has already managed to touch the lives of countless women and teenagers with its ongoing public health awareness campaigns in schools and slums. As it moves onto the production phase, the startup aims to market its product as soon as they can while targeting low-income communities across the country and hopefully, across the national borders.