To say period poverty is alive and well is an understatement. Over 70% of women in India don’t know what sanitary towels are or how to use them. This Black Friday we wanted to change that.
Over the Black Friday Weekend 2019, we donated 100% of our profits to the Sakhi project. The Sakhi Project is an initiative set up by Swati Bedekar which allows young women to manufacture and sell their own sanitary towels. The project also strives to educate young women and boys on menstruation to alleviate cultural stigma and harmful taboos. So why did we decide to partner with them? Well, it was all down to one of our founders, Kru.
Growing up, I was told not to enter the temple until the 3rd day of my period, only after I had washed my hair. My friends and I would dread the thought of being on our periods during one of our favourite annual festivals (known as Navratri/Garba) because it meant we couldn’t go! I never questioned it at first but as the years passed I became increasingly frustrated and questioned what seemed to be a whole lot of nonsense (given that a period is a natural part of life!)
All over the world, women are banned from places of worship when menstruating. They are told it is because it is seen as dirty or impure. In many remote villages in India, women are made to sleep separately, eat separately and aren’t even allowed to touch their partners! These women don’t even have access to clean sanitary towels and use cloths instead. They are made to feel so ashamed of menstruation that they have to hide their washed cloth underneath their clothes, meaning they don’t dry properly and they end up with infections! Are you kidding me?!
EDUCATION is the key to breaking this absolute prejudice behaviour women face every single month. This is why the Sakhi project struck such a chord with me. As well as giving women the freedom to earn their own money and access to clean biodegradable pads, they are given the POWER of knowledge. If they understand that what they are experiencing is natural and not a process to be ashamed of, they can fight back.