Neena Narayan is the Founder Managing Director of ISHTA – an MSME enterprise. An alumni of the St Stephen’s college Neena did her graduation in Economics honours and then went on to do Law from Delhi University. A homemakerfirst, Neena has been practicing law since last two decades.
Passionate about nature, environment, health and hygiene, in 1998-2000 Neena set up Rain water harvesting system in the Modern School, as a parent contribution. She actively participates in programs to raise awareness about recycling and environment. As a member of Ploggers of India she participates in drives to collect plastic on runs.
One morning in 2015 while she waited at her doctor’s clinic a question struck her- “How do Indians, especially women, children and the elderly, who are increasingly outgoiong – pee safely in a public toilet- and the rampant urinary tract infections and other diseases that follow from an unsafe public toilet be avoided?” She was consumed enough by the thought that she spent the next year-and-a-half in pursuit of the perfect toilet seat cover. Numerous designs and several conversations with fabric suppliers, led her to finally invent a new toilet seat cover.
An easy to carry and use, waterproof disposable cover for toilet seats with a unique fold to address the unmet need for hygienic conditions, especially for women, children and elderly, whenever they use public toilets. The covers come in little pouches which can easily slip into a pocket or a ladies purse. Papery and soft on top, and waterproofed on the bottom, the foldable flap of the cover acts like a glove, preventing any contact with the toilet seat while fitting the cover onto it and its subsequent disposal after use. “Feels like silk, shields like steel,” is the sexy tagline for this decidedly unsexy product: “toilet seat cover”. Neena’s first patent for this cover has already been applied in India.
Thus in 2017 was born – ISHTA i.e. “Initiative for Sanitation and HygieneTowards All”. ISHTA focuses on hygiene products. It supports economic independence of women by employing women from challenged economic backgrounds. Whilestill a struggling start up, ISHTA has been contributingsocially to help build actual toilets and promoting hygiene initiatives.
The Hindustan Times (July2017) and the Global Linkers forum (…) recognised the potential in the humble beginnings of Ishta’s journey.
In 2018, Neena leveraged the learnings from the toilet seat cover to design a special and easy to carry cover for seats for police vehicles. ERSS ( Emergency Response support system) has been using these to shift accident victims. These special seat covers help maintain hygiene in the Police vehicles and are strong enough to be a cloth-stretcher on which the victim can also be easily carried.
Neena runs long distance, loves to travel and and trekk. She believes that the best gift a person can give to their own selves and to their loved ones is good health and a clean environment. Her vision is to enable all and women, in particular, to achieve this as they go about their busy lives caring for everyone else. Her ask: “Love yourselves N Carry Your Care”- good health by hygiene for all.
Ishta’s journey has just begun and Neena looks to the long road ahead with excitement and hope to address several unmet needs in areas of sanitation health and hygiene.