What would you do if you didn’t have access to sanitary products for your period? Or if your mother, daughter, wife, friend or partner wasn’t afforded such a seemingly simple right?
This is the unfortunate reality for millions of women and girls, every single month. Period poverty is a serious, pressing issue and one that Barefoot College is addressing in a very real way.
Lack of access to sanitary products and lack of education about reproductive health are two of the biggest issues facing girls and women in the developing world. It is why Barefoot College has launched a new campaign to raise funds to address both of these issues in a way that is community-driven, culturally relevant, practical and environmentally friendly.
Both governments and NGOs have become more aware of the reality of period poverty in recent years, providing some menstrual hygiene solutions in rural spaces. Unfortunately, this often takes the form of low-cost sanitary napkins which are chemically treated and use plastic, making them non-biodegradable. These have in turn created a waste problem and poor health outcomes amongst the women they are designed to help, whilst other women aren’t able to use them at all due to lack of safe disposal facilities or cultural issues.
The project, which is currently running in India and Zanzibar, is fighting this battle on two fronts. Firstly, through an interactive curriculum to educate women and girls about reproductive health and hygiene. This education is designed not only to provide awareness but also to empower women by giving them understanding and control over their reproductive health.
Secondly, the women and girls are given access to a range of environmentally sustainable and affordable menstrual care products, providing them with the opportunity to pick a product based on ease of use, disposal method, and cultural context. These products include:
- Reusable cloth pads – made and designed as part of Barefoot College’s B Barefoot menstrual health social enterprise
- Environmentally-friendly disposable pads – made and designed as part of Barefoot College’s B Barefoot menstrual health social enterprise
- Menstrual cups – sourced from a local Indian/ Zanzibar organization and are sold
This project is a full circle initiative that, in addition to providing menstrual health education and menstrual care products also generates secondary livelihood opportunities. The sanitary products are produced by rural women from poor communities, who can then sell them for a fair price. This creates a long term livelihood solution that can endure the test of time.
Our campaign is raising funds to continue much needed reproductive health education and fund the production of sanitary products, which in turn provides women with access to hygienic and practical period solutions and creates economic uplift.
We are asking our supporters to donate as little as £7 (the cost of creating a set of six reusable cloth pads), or alternatively to provide an ongoing monthly donation to help us continue to fight period poverty and provide equitable menstrual health solutions on a global scale, empowering women in the poorest rural communities around the world.
If you’d like to donate, please do so via our Just Giving campaign which can be found here: DONATE