In 2012/13, Linda from The Umbrella Foundation (Australia) launched a project of delivering sewing machines and materials to outlaying villages. Backed by Mountain People, Beni Handicrafts and Steps. The idea was to train women’s groups to produce washable sanitary pads, with intent to create income for the woman’s groups. Plus, so they could repair and produce clothing for the village. This training in production (Beni Handicrafts) was backed with general workshops covering health and hygiene (Steps).
Unfortunately the earthquake of 2014 put a stop to this. The four partners realized the above model was not sustainable, in relation to costs. So Linda moved into projects related to brick manufacturing (helping the workers), while Beni Handicrafts started to produce a series of sanitary pads: Freedom Period Pad Kits.
Freedom Kit Bag – wear with pride!
Beni Handicrafts produces so they may provide training and income generating employment for women in need.
Mountain People and Steps aim is to raise awareness about reproduction and sexual health and reduce the shame around menstruation.
‘Girls and women should be PROUD when they have their period!’ – Beni
Each Freedom Kit Bag contains:
1. One fashionable and handy Silk-sari carry bag.
2. Two soft cotton Pad Carriers, with a waterproof mid- layer, and plastic press studs.
3. Six washable Pads, each in nine layer soft absorbent cotton or fleece.
4. Two pairs of panties (difficult to secure in isolated areas).
5. One Day Purse, to carry a dry Pad.
6. One Wet Purse, to place the soiled pad, to wash at home.
7. One Soap Purse, with soap, to wash hands before and after changing pads.
8. Drying line and two pegs (not always)
The distribution of Freedom Period Pad Kits takes place after a workshop on women’s health and the reproductive cycle. Boys and men are encouraged to attend.
Girls are encouraged to carry their Freedom Period Pad Kits with pride, and use the pads with confidence. They are taught that there is no shame in seeking medical attention if they have issues with their personal health.
Production by Beni Handicrafts provides training and income for women in need. Mountain People and Steps Foundation distribute the Kit Bags to outlaying villages on a no cost basis. Other organizations purchase Freedom Period Pad Kits from Beni Handicrafts, and have their own distribution systems.
References are available, should you wish to purchase for your project, or partake in an ongoing Steps/Mountain People project.