Power to empower
Nalam, a rural sanitary pad production facility featured in the film, was crippled by severe power outages. Their all-women team had the will, and Muruganantham’s machine, to produce low-cost pads for their community. They just needed a little power.
We raised USD3,300 through a private charity screening to buy Nalam a generator. The facility is fully operational again. (Incidentally, $3,300 is about a gazillion in indie filmmaking dollars. My sincere thanks to everyone who made this possible. You’re all rockstars.)
WHO, WHERE, WHY & HOW
For the past 36 years, Sister Teresa and Father Matthew have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the villagers in Nadupatty, Tamil Nadu. Through their secular village development society, MPEVDS, they have started schools, established various cottage industries for women, and even set up a dairy co-op to help villagers attain self-sufficiency.
In 2012, they took a loan to purchase Muruganantham’s machines and set up the Nalam sanitary pad production facility. “Nalam” — or “health” in Tamil — represents Sister Teresa’s long-cherished dream to see the women of Nadupatty have access to affordable menstrual hygiene.
Although the Nalam site was operational, it was crippled by the acute electricity shortage in Tamil Nadu (and many parts of India). Small villages like Nadupatty are hit the worst. On average, Nadupatty gets only three hours of electricity a day.
As a result, the Nalam site was running at 20% production capacity. Not only was Sister Teresa failing to breakeven, but with fewer pads being produced, fewer women in the community were gaining access to menstrual hygiene.
Power to empower
We wanted to give Sister Teresa the power she needed to empower women in her charge. To raise menstrual hygiene levels in her community. To provide a livelihood for the women in her charge at Naalam.
Based on several assessments, a 5 kVA diesel generator was sufficient to supply the facility with its power needs. With it, the team would finally be able to operate 8-hr shifts a day. Their eventual goal is to train enough women to run 2 shifts a day, thereby maximising output and profit.
The generator was estimated to cost Rs. 181,000 or approximately USD 3050. That’s the target we set for ourselves.
Thanks to the generosity of those who came to our private charity screening, we raised USD 3,300 and the Nalam site is fully-operational again.
Q. Really? You hope to raise the entire sum from a single screening?
Hope? Sure. But it’s unlikely, unless attendees make additional contributions that night. However we’re exploring other avenues to raise money using the film, perhaps even other cities where we might organise charity screenings. We don’t have everything figured out yet. We just wanted to start on the right note and let our first ticketed screening be for Sister Teresa.
Well whaddya know? We did it!
Q. And if you fail to raise the full sum?
Then we’ll take comfort in knowing we tried. Besides, this ain’t a Kickstarter campaign. We don’t have to reach our goal before MPEVDS sees a single cent. After every such initiative, we will send them whatever we’ve raised. If we raise the full sum, Nalam buys a generator. If we can’t by January 2014, Sister Teresa will use whatever we’ve raised for her school projects, “specially for girls who are doing job-oriented studies.”
Fail? The word doesn’t exist in our vocab… Okay, it does. As indie filmmakers, we know how hard raising funds can be. Makes us all the more grateful for the support we received from friends and family.
Q. But how can I be sure you send the money to them?
A. Glad you asked, and love that you’re keeping us honest. We’ll
post posted the bank transfer receipt on this site.
Q. What if I want to donate directly to MPEVDS?
Please do. Email us and we’ll hook you up with Sister Teresa.