BY: LISA CUMMING
Many women and girls across India wear bindis, as they are marks of great importance in Hindu culture. A red bindi is the most traditional, but other colours are also worn.
The small dot is placed between the eyebrows and signifies the spot where the sixth chakra is. In a religious context, the place where the bindi lies is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration.
The spiritual nature of the bindi ties into the partner project Life Saving Dots. The project was pioneered by Grey for Good (of Singapore) and the Neelvasant Medical Foundation.
Life Saving Dots is an innovation that aims to help reduce the number of women who become, or could become, sick due to iodine deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is a dangerous condition: iodine is needed for the process that converts the food you eat into the energy that will sustain you. A lack of iodine in the human body is also the leading cause of brain damage, and in pregnant women can cause babies to develop cognitive birth defects or be stillborn.
The backs of the special life-saving bindis are coated in iodine drops, essentially transforming the bindi into an iodine patch. Every bindi is single use, but over the course of eight hours they deliver the daily-recommended intake of 100-150 micrograms of iodine.
Life Saving Dots are affordable—30 days for ten rupees. The patches were handed out in some villages in rural India to help women who can’t afford the iodine supplements receive the nutrient.
The decision to turn small iodine patches into bindis has immensely helped the project to take off, with more than 30,000 women in 100 villages having access to the product.
The Life Saving Dots project shines a necessary light on a life-threatening issue. Forward-thinking innovations like these iodine patches save thousands from a preventable illness and help women in India lead a healthier life.