Ashamed Of Asking?

(The story by Nageshwar Panchal won the 2nd prize in "Social Entrepreneurship Storytelling Contest" organised at School for Social Entrepreneurs India, Gurgaon by AL Services)

Guest Post by 
Nageshwar Panchal- A Success Story

Once upon a time, yes, every story I heard in my childhood started from this phrase and mine also. So once upon a time my niece came to my village from a city along with my sister. We were enjoying Rakhi festival and I was studying my last year of engineering at that time. It was time for her periods and she often forgets to carry Pads. I thought it would be easily available in the village so I went to a shop then another shop and then another. I found that there are no sanitary pads available in the village. Some women are selling cloth patches used during menstruation cycle. It was unbelievable for me initially. Yet I was so away from the truth. 

I started Google search and community visits to understand the reality. Whatever facts I found are terrible and shocking.Preventive health care has always been ignored by Indians, thus causing loss of lives and money. This ignorance or reluctance is caused by the lack of awareness and accessibility of genuine health care products. The situation is worse when it comes to women.

There is a quote by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus that “Social Entrepreneur is one who see the pain in the society and create a business around it to solve it.” I took the inspiration from the quote and started an Organization Go-On India with Rajesh Kumar and Rohit Patidar. It is a sanitary pads production Unit in Madhya Pradesh. After some time I found that demand is much, much higher than supply. We are thinking about starting few more units.

I realize this is a big taboo and only accessibility can’t solve the problem. So we developed a plan (Fellowship plan) for creating social leaders from villages to address all the issues. In that program, we are working directly with the school going girls.We will give special training and will support them so that they go on to become change makers. Go-On India will train girl fellows (called Nightingales) who will be responsible for one district each. They will organize awareness camps in schools and select 2 Change-makers through a process for school and village representation.

Training program is designed in a manner that it covers all the aspects of awareness, communication, technical knowledge, sales, taboos, myths and revolves around leadership. Change makers will be our medium to provide sanitary napkins to girls, village women and to handle queries. A part of profit of Go-On India will be shared by these change makers.

Literature and School

My journey started from a small village Jhutawad, which is 70 KM away from Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh state of India). There is no proper school in my village. In initial days I spent my school days in a Temple and some of our classes were conducted under a tree. Selection in JNV School made a big difference in my life. JNV Ujjain was bigger than my village. I had never seen such a school in my life. I tasted Paneer (Indian cheese), Jackfruit and Pear first time in my life at the School. 

In 7th class I was introduced to the school Library, the most wonderful place of my life. I started reading lots of books from Premchand to Shakespeare. I started taking part in the cultural programs and speaking on stage. Mrs. Alka Kothari,Mrs. Rammurti and Mr. Anil Makode were not just teachers, but like goddesses and gods in my Journey. I explored lots of things because of encouragement of my teachers and their belief in me. Then I started writing poems and short stories too. I got Rajya Pal (Governor) Award in Scout during my school days.

First Short movie to Sanima

During engineering days I watched lots of movies and read novels also. In third year my old friend Rohit and I were talking about movies and suddenly we thought that we should make a short movie. I had already written many stories and some plays. He was also active in his college extra curriculum activities. We don’t know how to write screenplays, and 180 degree rule of movie making. We searched for resources everywhere in Indore. Even a tea vendor refused to work with us because we were new and knew nothing about film-making. When we talked about the project with our extended family they declared us mad. Anyhow, we made our first short film named 'Corner table' and it was telecast by four news channel.

We faced lots of problems for our first film and there are lots of artists facing the same problem because there is no collaboration and proper platform for it. So Rohit and I decided to create a platform and that’s how SANIMA came out. In two years we made many short films under SANIMA and worked with many artists. We made a movie in 48 Hoursfor world 48 hour film project. One of our team members from SANIMA was selected for a program at the reputed Film and Television Institute of India. Now we are planning to make feature films.

Jagriti Yatra leads to Mera Gaon Meri Dunia

24 December to 8 January 2014 is again a memorable period in my life and washed away my illusions. During Jagriti Yatra, we traveled around 8000 km and met all well Known Social Entrepreneurs of India. The address of Ansu Gupta(Founder of Goonj) made me uncomfortable and forced me to think about the reality of India. Of late I have been worried about the current situation of India. I don’t have a single clue how can we change the lives of the people.

25 January 2015,we arranged our 1st Seminar for students and a panel discussion of local experts focusing on how can we change the current education scenario of our area. Some students who are studying outside the village come together to change the education quality and that’s how “Mera Gaon Meri Dunia” (My Village, My World) came into action. Currently focus of the“Mera Gaon Meri Dunia” is establishing a learning center with a Library in the village.

Struggle in Social sector and SSE

At the end of 2015, I was struggling with the idea of how to break the myth and provide hygienic sanitary pads to the remote villages of India. Go-On India is on the mission of providing hygienic health care product up to the last person. When we looked at our production capacity we found that it does not match the demand. We are facing problems to reach out to women of the village.There is no proper fixed supply chain system to reach out to these people. During that period, I was selected in the first cohort of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, India Social startup fellowship program. The expert sessions at SSE clears lots of doubts and develops the skills at the same time and witness session provides us experience and gives motivation and strength.

At Go On India, now we have begun dreaming of a world where every woman is healthy and happy. And is not ashamed of asking for a sanitary pad. 


Brief Profile

Nageshwar Panchal is a young entrepreneur from Indore.He founded "Go On India" along with Rajesh Kumar Sahu to provide Sanitary Napkins in remote villages of India. He is also the Co founder of Sanima, a platform for artists to make movies and plays.

Along with Entrepreneurship he pursues his hobbies- writing poems and stories, directing movies and currently he’s writing a feature film. He has done his MBA from ABV IIITM and Automobile Engineering from RJIT BSF Academy.


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