Black Friday has always been an important day to BeYou. At BeYou, Black Friday marks the start of a weekend-long initiative in which all profits are donated to the Sakhi Foundation in the hopes of ending period poverty and empowering women within the poorest communities: one group of women at a time.
The grassroots initiative has been running strong since we started in 2018, with massive support given by our sibling Founders: Kru & Hemang. We thought it would be great to hear from the founders themselves on what makes this Black Friday initiative so bloody great (pun intended)!
What is the Sakhi Project?
How did you find out about the Sakhi Project?
One of our family-friends told us about Swati and the work she does. From there, we reached out and had a few more conversations about how we could get involved.
Once we spoke to Swati about how the project worked, we knew there was complete transparency, and we were delighted to donate, knowing money wasn’t being spent on unnecessary ‘admin fees’.
How does the Sakhi Project work?
What drew us towards the Sakhi Project is the vast layers that this initiative aims to change the cycle within poorer communities whilst combatting period poverty. How it all works is:
+ A location is found, machinery set up, and raw materials ordered - ready to create biodegradable, sanitary pads.
+ 15 of the poorest local women are employed and trained on how to make these pads
+ All the profit from selling the pads (they make 1,200 pads a day!) is kept by these women, or they reinvest it to make another machine and employ more local women!
+ Training and awareness camps are run to teach the local community (boys and men included) about the science of menstruation and how it is not ‘dirty’ - this is key to changing perceptions!
+ Additional donations pay for these pads to be given to the poorest women in the community who can’t afford pads (one year’s supply at a time!)
By supporting the Sakhi Project, BeYou is also aiming to combat period poverty
We both have a strong connection with this. We grew up with our paternal grandparents, and our grandfather has always been big on women’s rights and empowerment - something he got from his dad and grandfather.
We’ve been aware of the various initiatives he has started at a grassroots level out in India - for example; he started a school where the principal goes to all the nearby villages and explains to parents why their daughters should receive an education, as well as enrol them in the school with a full bursary if they can't afford it.
It’s something we’ve always been incredibly proud of growing up, and period poverty is no different - if we can help girls stay in school because they can’t afford pads or they think their period is dirty, then what better way to help change lives? Naturally, there’s a lot of work to do in this area, but we passionately believe period poverty shouldn’t exist.
Black Friday with the BeYou Foundation
What sparked the idea to donate all profits on Black Friday weekend?
When we first started, we always thought it would be great to do something a bit different - something less geared towards pure consumerism and more on giving back. As we are still a small business, we can't really compete with the likes of the big names out there, plus our product prices are relatively low and haven't changed despite all our costs having more than doubled since covid. Besides, we always say we started BeYou to help people first and foremost.
How has this initiative grown since you first started?
It’s been going great! We’ve employed 45 women, produced over 5.1 million biodegradable pads, educated thousands of school girls and even local communities on the science behind a period and why it isn’t dirty or something to be ashamed of. From the first campaign where we were only able to donate pads (because we were so small) to now when we can launch a whole machine from a weekend, it’s been a crazy journey, but it’s all down to our wonderful community. In fact, opening the machine during the first lockdown was incredible - like we always said in the office, periods don’t stop for pandemics!
How to get involved and give back this Black Friday
From Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2023, all of the profits made online will be donated to the Sakhi Project to provide more machinery, employ more women and make more pads.
Every single product shopped this weekend will contribute to an entire year’s supply of free pads to a girl in India. And you get a great BeYou product out of it, too!