THE PAD PROJECT

THE ISSUES: TO END PERIOD STIGMA, AND TO EMPOWER GIRLS AND WOMEN

YGB is excited to announce the launch of our pad project with our NGO partner NISHTHA in West Bengal, supported by Trotula Fund and The Pad Project

After three years of discussion, as well as obstacles caused by the cyclone and pandemic, we finally launched this pioneering project in 4月 2022, with two pad manufacturing machines to train 20 women from YGB’s micro loan program. 

“Menstruators around the world, especially in low income communities, often face a lack of access to menstrual products. Without proper sanitary supplies, they may resort to using newspapers, dirty rags, and even leaves to manage their periods. The combination of period poverty, stigmatization, and inadequate reproductive and sexual health education has major consequences for menstruators’ wellbeing. It can also prevent menstruators from staying in school, thereby ending their education.”

Photo: Women operate the pad machines.

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THE VISION: EQUITY

“Lack of access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products is a global problem. Our goal is to help each community provide adequate menstrual health to menstruators, which, according to Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, requires “complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.”

The Pad Project

OUR GOAL

To provide women and girls with affordable, biodegradable, high quality menstrual products for their hygiene and to create a source of income for women in YGB’s Sister Aid micro loan groups. This project will empower users of pad products as well as pad producers among among women in poor rural villages.

Photos: A demonstration is given for women who operate the pad machines. “Awareness Building Class” by a gynecologist doctor. 

BACKGROUND

“When girls and women have access to safe and affordable sanitary materials to manage their menstruation, they decrease their risk of infections. This can have cascading effects on overall sexual and reproductive health, including reducing teen pregnancy, maternal outcomes, and fertility. Poor menstrual hygiene, however, can pose serious health risks, like reproductive and urinary tract infections which can result in future infertility and birth complications.” 
(Source: Brief, 5月 12, 2022, WorldBank) 
 

In many high schools, girls miss school during their periods because their schools do not have proper menstrual hygiene management systems. Placing pad machines in these communities will increase awareness of proper menstrual hygiene management and usage of sanitary menstrual products.

The dual disasters of COVID-19 and Cyclone Amphan have wreaked havoc on the lives of the women living in the communities where we work. Lockdown has restricted mobility, increased job loss, and led to financial difficulties for the villagers. The women who used to run their own enterprises under the YGB-funded Sister Aid program are now in need of an alternate way to maintain their livelihoods.

The Pad Project at NISHTHA can create a new platform for women’s empowerment by centering some of the Sister Aid businesses on pad machines. 

We hope the projects will be successful so that we can replicate it to increase the positive impact in similar communities. YGB will consider expansion of this program, or any other assistance or opportunities that arise from The Pad Project as NISHTHA’s funding partner.

Photos: Girls and women used rags during menstruation and burned them after use; they could not afford sanitary napkins 

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THE IMPACT

In 2010, we first visited NISHTHA in West Bengal and learned about the ordeal of menstruation suffered by girls and women in rural villages. They used rags for menstruation as there were no pads available nor they could afford them. 

Menstruation is taboo in the family or community and also considered as ‘impure’ therefore causing profound stigma especially among young girls who had to skip school during their periods as there were no toilets for girls. 

It is truly our dream come true to bring The Pad Project to NISHTHA.

4月 2022: Our Pad Project Launched

7月 2022: Design and Packaging Creation