For our Periods issue, we’ve prepared a list of initiatives that serve the menstrual hygiene awareness cause. Below, you will find a list of platforms that are geared towards raising awareness and educating women on the nature of their bodies. We encourage you to take your time in reviewing each initiative!
The Pad Project
A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education. But, unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening all over the world.
The Pad Project is a non-profit organisation that targets struggling girls in developing countries. It aims to challenge the taboo of menstruation and raze the barriers placed in front of girls seeking an education – their basic right. Unfortunately many girls in developing countries have no access to sanitary pads; most families choose between buying feminine protection for their daughters or a week’s supply of milk for their household. Most of the time, parents would resort to purchasing products to ensure the whole family’s well being instead of their girl’s, so girls end up turning to unhealthy alternatives like dirty rags, leaves or rashes. Not only does this solution increase their risk of infection, but it also threatens their future. Along with their period, the consequence of missing school follows – the more of school they miss, the more likely it becomes for them to fall behind and eventually discontinue their education.
To address this issue, The Pad Project introduced a machine that creates affordable, biodegradable pads from locally sourced materials – an innovation created by a man named Muruganantham. Not only does it supply girls with inexpensive pads, but it warrants steady income to local women who are willing to work on it. Finally, The Pad Project asserts that it is their job to aid women’s independence, and here’s how they do it (via their website):
- Connect with activists on the ground who have communicated that they need the machine.
- Learn about the area’s specific needs from the local experts and make sure that we can supply enough funds to cover each one (for example, we always check if an area has sufficient power, and if they don’t, we will supply solar panels).
- Raise enough money for one machine, a years’ worth of supplies (after which the machine and its profits will become a self-sufficient microeconomy for the women in the area), and a team of local women who can educate other women how to use the machine and also how to destigmatize periods.
You can learn more and get involved by visiting their website: www.thepadproject.org
The Heavy Flow Podcast
Your body is fine the way it is. It doesn’t need to be contained or disciplined, obscured or silenced.
The Heavy Flow Podcast is unique in nature, as it tackles the taboo of menstruation through discussions with host Amanda Laird. The podcast seeks to enhance menstrual literacy and encourage women to learn more about their bodies, by grasping the nature of their menstrual cycle. Better still, it includes conversations about periods, as well as reproductive health and wellness. Whether you are a girl on the verge of the menstrual journey, a teenager driven by curiosity, or a mother blossoming in the earliest spring of motherhood, you should join the conversation and listen to the podcast!
I grew up lacking body literacy like most girls of my generation. My only reference of the woman’s body was religious, shallow, or in the form of canceled biology class.
Niswa is an empowering platform dedicated to women with the intention of propagating fertility awareness and encouraging women to embrace the femininity within. Zainab Alradhi – founder of Niswa – believes that fertility awareness unleashes a self awareness tool that helps understand us understand our true selves. Thus, stemming from this belief, and her own experience, Niswa was created. Niswa, which translates to a group of women in English, is a platform made my women for women, with the hope of unraveling menstrual wonders and breaking all walls of shame. You can learn more about the initiative on their website: www.niswa.org or check out their Instagram page: @niswaorg
My Period Story
Here, buying period products is sometimes equal to smuggling drugs.
My Period Story is a safe platform created for women to forge connections, and learn from documented experiences. The initiative aims to normalise conversations about periods by allowing them to submit their period-related stories on their blog. To learn more about their initiative or submit to their blog, you may visit their website.
Happy Uterus is an Instagram page which took the initiative to spread awareness on the symptothermal method, an effective and inexpensive method of natural family planning. The page informs by sharing illustrations and a brief scientific explanation under each post. You can check out the illustrations and educate yourself via their Instagram.
Baby Fist’s Menstrual Education Project
68% of Palestinian girls referred to their mothers as the main source of information about menstrual periods. As beautiful as this matriarchal tradition is, it means that often times misinformation is passed down through generations.
BabyFist is a Palestinian initiative that stems from the urge of local apparel manufacturing, with the hope of empowering Palestinian women situated in the West Bank and Gaza. The initiative’s work expands in accordance to Palestinian women’s needs, and aims to empower them in all aspects, including womanhood and wellbeing. Within the borders of Palestine reposes a stigma, a difficulty in menstrual hygiene maintenance, a generation of misinformed girls who grow strangers to their bodies.
Baby Fist intends to challenge these issues by hosting workshops for menstruation, held in Palestinian public schools. Not only does the workshop enhance menstrual literacy but it’s also engaging as girls participate in several activities and meaningful conversations about their bodies. To learn more, and to fund the held workshops, you may visit their website. www.baby-fist.com
Give Her 5
A girl in India with no access to sanitary pads will miss five days of school a month. Let’s Give Her 5 of these days back.
With no access to sanitary protection, 1 out of 5 girls are forced to drop out of school in rural areas across India. Give Her 5 is a social initiative that aims to break this cycle by providing women with Saafkins, a reusable and affordable sanitary panty, through donations. Stemming from the belief that period poverty shouldn’t get in the way of education, Give Her 5 also hosts workshops and conduct critical research to ensure that women have equal opportunity to attend school and work. To learn more about this initiative or donate, please visit their website: https://www.giveher5.org
By Period Facts
By Period Facts is an Instagram page with the intention of stirring conversations about periods! To read more about the topic, please visit their page: @by.periodfacts
Her Padded Truth
According to the 2017 Annual Homelessness Assessment report, 39% of the homeless population are women. With the average age being 24.
Her Padded Truth is a social initiative that aims to eradicate period poverty. It specifically targets homeless women and provides them with sanitary products from which they benefit from and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about this initiative or donate, please visit their website: https://www.herpaddedtruth.org
Pride In Our Tide
We want to appreciate our lovely ladies who put up with so much and for being a huge contributor to the creation of life. We hope that through our campaign, young women in Singapore can stand tall and take pride in their tide.
Pride In Our Tide is a Singapore-based platform that empowers women to take pride in their monthly tides. Their efforts in raising awareness range from creating merchandise, hosting informative sessions, creating customised illustrations and finally, managing an online blog. Not to mention, their campaign seeks to educate young women about their health and encourage open conversations about menstrual health in society. You can learn more about their initiative and check out their merchandise on their website: https://prideinourtide.com
Shayma is a 15-year-old high school student based in the United Arab Emirates. She finds the concepts of the universe and writing very fascinating as she aspires to major in astrophysics, with a creative writing minor. She is also passionate about human rights and activism and is hoping to be involved in humanitarian work in the future. You can find her on Instagram here.