. Sarvodaya Women’s Movement President Wimala Ranathunga
. Hemas Consumer Brands Marketing Director Fiona Munasinghe
. Dilmah Tea CEO and MJF Charitable Foundation Trustee Dilhan Fernando
. Hemas Holdings Group CEO Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson
. Hemas FMCG Managing Director Sriyan de Silva
. The panellists at the Fems ‘Aya’ launching event
. Over the last two years, we have begun to work primarily with the grassroots community. We have started a project where we provide sanitary napkins to women in rural areas, as well as recommendations to ob-gyns for women
The Arka Initiative Founder/Director Manisha Dissanayake
Fems, a leading feminine hygiene care brand owned by Hemas Consumer, came to the fore in addressing the most pressing concerns related to menstrual health and hygiene in a groundbreaking, multi-partner awareness campaign that runs nationwide.
Fems is dedicated to empower every Sri Lankan woman with its innovative products intended to provide the maximum comfort, thereby enabling women to rise above with confidence.
Explaining the values of Fems, Hemas FMCG Managing Director (MD) Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne stated: “The brand’s existing product range, accredited with dermatologically tested and SLS (Sri Lanka Standards Institution) certifications, has set itself apart as the most sought-after hygiene care brand among women of all ages.”
All Fems products are said to be manufactured using high-quality raw materials, and are scientifically designed to provide comfort, protection, and inner cleanliness.
Fems launches ‘Aya’
Fems “Aya”, a timely initiative aiming to educate women on menstrual health and hygiene and to provide equal access to high-quality sanitary napkins for every woman, was launched in line with International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March at Ramada Colombo.
The launch was graced by State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, as Chief Guest. The panellists at the event included Sarvodaya Women’s Movement President Wimala Ranathunga, Hemas Consumer Brands Marketing Director Fiona Munasinghe, Dilmah Tea CEO and MJF Charitable Foundation Trustee Dilhan Fernando, Hemas Holdings Group CEO Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Hemas FMCG MD Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, and The Arka Initiative Founder/Director Manisha Dissanayake.
Alongside the nationwide initiative, Fems launched a new sanitary napkin aiming to equip Sri Lankan women with an affordable solution. Manufactured using a soft cotton top sheet to provide maximum comfort to the user, the Fems Aya napkin will soon be available in the market for an affordable price.
Commenting during the launch, Hemas Holdings Group CEO Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson said: “This is a timely initiative, as at present, a majority of women in Sri Lanka, due to numerous reasons, do not have access to sanitary napkins.”
She added that the Fems Aya initiative will address these concerns related to menstrual health which prevent women from leading an active lifestyle and reaching their true potential. “As a socially responsible brand that focuses on promoting a healthful nation, Fems, through its Fems Aya initiative, will work towards creating awareness on menstrual health and hygiene, and empower women in all walks of life,” she stated.
She also pinned the lack of awareness as the biggest issue in Sri Lanka, explaining that they had to partner with like-minded people to eradicate the problem. “We have products available, but that’s not enough. We need to empower women to own themselves and gain knowledge on what menstruation actually is by understanding that there shouldn’t be a taboo around it. We at Hemas want to make a socially impactful change.”
Fems joined forces with The Arka initiative, Dilmah’s MJF Charitable Foundation, Sarvodaya Women’s Movement, and Sarvodaya-Fusion to educate a wider audience of Sri Lankan women on menstrual health and iron out the long-held myths and misconceptions. While addressing the knowledge gap, this initiative intends to encourage women to use sanitary napkins as researchers have found out that the majority of menstruating women are non-users of sanitary napkins.
The Arka Initiative Founder/Director Manisha Dissanayake stated: “We look forward to the work ahead. Over the last two years, we have begun to work primarily with the grassroots community. We have started a project where we provide sanitary napkins to women in rural areas, as well as recommendations to ob-gyns for women.”
She also noted that women severely need tools to navigate their sexual and reproductive health, which is what they aim to do with the partnership with Hemas.
Dilmah Tea CEO and MJF Charitable Foundation Trustee Dilhan Fernando looks at the event as less of a product launch, and more as the beginning of fundamental societal change. “Everyone has a role to play, whether it’s for social welfare or economic development. Today is a day where we can integrate a critical component into the social welfare of the country,” he stated.
Expressing her support for this movement, Sarvodaya Women’s Movement President Wimala Ranathunga shared: “We joined this initiative to help out teenage girls and women to understand themselves and override the embarrassment that surrounds the topics of women’s issues.”
She added that as a team, they will be successful in making a change in the country, with the support of the other organisations present.
Speaking at the event, Disanayake explained that one of the main objectives of The Arka Initiative is to educate and equip young women with the necessary knowledge and tools they need to ensure menstrual health and hygiene.
The partnership with the MJF Charitable Foundation enables Fems to educate more than 10,000 plantation residents, with the due support from The Arka Initiative. Fems intends to expand this awareness campaign to rural villages through the Sarvodaya Women’s Movement, which is a large network of women spread across the island. Sarvodaya-Fusion, which works on ICT (information and communication technology) for development initiatives, will be instrumental in conducting online awareness sessions on healthful living for women in this digital era.
State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle shared her thoughts, noting: “I am proud to see a leading private sector company like Hemas stepping up to lead a social endeavour that bridges a long-felt knowledge gap together with organisations that share a similar interest. This initiative will make further inroads to empower women which bodes well for the country as well as the economy.”
Amidst many challenges, women have risen and empowered themselves to make a change in the world, Dr. Fernandopulle noted. Concluding, she took the opportunity to congratulate Hemas and partner organisations to make this initiative a success.