Skip to main content

Alum's company donates 100,000 sanitary pads to migrant workers impacted by COVID-19

Mechanical Engineering alumnus, Chirag Virani is co-founder of Sparkle, a company that provides sustainable feminine hygiene products to women in India and across the globe. The company recently donated 100,000 sanitary pads to Indian migrant workers impacted by COVID-19.

Q: What is Sparkle? 

A: We founded Sparkle with an aim to provide sustainable, plastic-free, chemical-free and affordable feminine hygiene products to women in India and across the globe. With sustainable products made from plant based ingredients, Sparkle aims to reduce plastic pollution, support circular economy, promote gender equality and improve menstrual health.

Q: Tell us more about the company's COVID-19 initiative.

A: On March 25, Indian government declared a three-week nationwide lockdown until April 14 to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (which has been further extended till May 3, 2020). As a result, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, who travel to the cities for work as daily wagers, started travelling towards their native villages. With no work or income for 21 days and all public transport, including buses, trains and taxies, halted, migrant workers started walking down highways for hundreds of kilometres with children in their arms and other belongings they could manage to carry. 

We reached out to a number of NGOs that have been working on the grassroots level to supply essential items to daily wage earners and migrant families. We realized that there are a lot of great NGOs and community members who were doing amazing work by distributing medical supplies and food items. We noticed that hardly one or two NGOs were focusing on distributing sanitary pad to migrant families.

As a social enterprise that provides sustainable menstrual hygiene products, we decided to donate over 100,000 sanitary pads because this allows us to utilize our strengths and skills to make daily wage earners’ journey slightly less challenging during these uncertain times.

Q: What is your advice to our students during this difficult time?

A: The unprecedented social and economic changes we are experiencing due to COVID-19 are drastically transforming how we interact with the world around us. However, just like any other personal challenges in our lives, this too shall pass.

At school, work, in business or in personal life, we can’t always control the external circumstances, but we can certainly control how we react to these situations.

If you are not the frontline workers and have the privilege of staying at home, you should practice social distancing and utilize this valuable time to gain clarity of your long term vision, what you really want to achieve in life and why.

Even during these difficult times, I am sure everyone has the ability to take at least one positive action, no matter how small, towards helping those in need during the pandemic.