Published: 03rd October 2018
Hear, Hear Ladies! Here's an affordable 'pee' device for you to safely relieve yourselves at public toilets
Sanfe is made out of biodegradable cardboard and is minimally priced at Rs 10. It is available on the leading e-commerce stores like Amazon and Flipkart
Hygienic public toilets are really hard to find in India. For women its worse, it is a serious health hazard when they have to use these toilets while traveling or in case of an emergency. Most women rather feel comfortable to relieve themselves in the safe confinement of their homes or sometimes even out on fields or behind the bushes while traveling (yes, that's true, being a woman I can assure you that's safer than public toilets!) For men it's somewhat easier.
But, the question is how long will women suffer for such unhygienic conditions at public toilets? Wait, maybe our prayers have been answered. Thanks to two IIT Delhi students who have come up with an affordable, biodegradable and easy-to-use solution.
"Around 71 per cent of the public washrooms are not cleaned on a regular basis. Women suffer from this the most as they have to sit every time on the toilet seat. They don't have other alternatives, they either choose not to use the loo or wipe the toilet seats before use. So a sustainable solution was needed to handle the conditions of public washrooms," says Harry Sehrawat and Archit Agarwal, the two IIT Delhi students, who are the developers of Sanfe, a simple use and throw product that allows women to stand and pee at public toilets.
Not able to find a clean washroom in office? By using Sanfe you can be safe from dirty washrooms
Harry and Archit are both third-year students of textile engineering. With some help from their professors, the duo came up with this life-changing sanitation product, which gives women the freedom to stand and urinate. This helps them avoid any contact with the toilet seats thus reducing the rate of contraction of infections from public washrooms henceforth.
"Sanfe, unique in terms of its menstrual-friendly design, can be used by women during their menstrual cycle. It can be used with just one hand. This is ideal for women wearing sarees, suits or long flowing dresses — they can hold their dress up with the other hand," explains Archit.
Archit recounts that it was not an easy journey for them. For the last nine months, they have gone through a number of design iterations, including the needs of the consumers in their product, making it more close to a consumer-centric product.
"We first came up with a basic funnel made out of paper, gave it to my female friends and asked them to try out. It didn't work out, then we had to modify it 18 times until we achieved perfection," says Archit.
He and Harry were given a college project in their first year, which asked to analyse the conditions of public washrooms. They visited several public toilets across Delhi and found that almost all of them were unhygienic and unfit for use. They conducted further research and found out that public toilets were one of the prominent reasons that cause Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in every one out of two women in our country. "We started to think about solving this issue and decided that why can't women stand and pee like men? Then they wouldn't have to go through the horrendous ordeal of sitting on germ-filled toilet seats," says Archit.
A simple solution: Sanfe allows women to stand and urinate eliminating physical contact of the body with dirty toilet seats and with it, the risk of infections
Sanfe is made out of a biodegradable cardboard material and is minimally priced at Rs 10. It is available on the leading e-commerce stores like Amazon and Flipkart. It is also available in pharmacies and around AIIMS Delhi as they had conducted their product trials in that area.
"Sanfe is not only useful for the public washrooms, but also for the pregnant women, women with knee pain and the back pain, as they suffer from the immense pain while sitting or squatting at the toilet. This is the most affordable sanitation product aimed to reach billions and promote sanitation," concludes Archit.