WHAT’S FREDA’S MISSION?
Access to menstrual sanitary products is a basic human right. Providing safe, green and abundant hygiene solutions is imperative if we are to unlock the potential for girls everywhere. We believe that this is also an achievable goal.
We plan to use our commercial subscription service to support and empower women and girls in need. We selected our non-profit partners on the following criteria:
- On the ground presence with direct link to the community it serves
- Small but effective operations
- Shared Freda’s vision of a sustainable solution to menstrual management of those in need and vulnerable
A Bloody Good Cause
An initiative started by two friends to collect donations of sanitary product to distribute to homeless shelters, women’s refuges and refugee centres. Sophie and Sanya personally identify the need and make sure the donations are delivered to those in need.
BGC was inspired by The Homeless Period’s petition, demanding the UK government provides sanitary products for homeless shelters, an initiative that Freda wholeheartedly supports.
How Freda helps: we support BGC’s campaigns by publicizing their mission and by donating sanitary pads that we collect from our customer community and networks.
KiliPads is a social enterprise of women producing and selling reusable sanitary pads in Msitu wa Tembo, Tanzania. The project aims to provide an accessible, appropriate and affordable way for girls and women to manage their periods with dignity. There is another practical dimension to this project: KiliPads also provides menstrual health education in schools in an attempt to break the taboo surrounding menstruation and reproductive health.
How Freda helps: In our initial phase we will be working with the local women entrepreneurs and purchasing reusable pad kits from them to support at least 500 school girls. We believe our approach sustains the local economy and empowers women to be self-sufficient and a role model to their community.
We are hoping that our support and donations will increase as our commercial platform becomes more successful.
The number of refugees is estimated to exceed 65m by the end of 2016, and half of these will be women and girls. Right now, all life-saving measures for refugee populations are administered by humanitarian organisations and other international aid agencies. Menstrual hygiene is not considered a life-saving priority, but it robs women and girls of their dignity. Cultural taboos prevent women coming forward for support and aid agencies have been slow to integrate menstrual health into their programmes. Women and girls resort to using rags, sand, dry leaves and some times just squat. Lack of adequate sanitation facilities adds further complications. To manage their periods hygienically, it is essential that women and girls have access to water and sanitation. They need somewhere private to change, clean water and soap to wash, and facilities for safely disposing of used materials. In some camps, bins for pad disposal are far from toilets, in full view of the camp. So women opt to change pads after nightfall, a time that puts them at risk of violence.
We at Freda want to give these girls their dignity back by making sure than women’s menstrual needs are taken into account in the planning of humanitarian emergency responses. The architectural layout of refugee camps make it difficult if not impossible for women to have the privacy that they need to comfortably manage their menstrual cycles. Lastly, the cost of pads when available more than often means that women choose food over hygiene. Sanitary pads are not one of the approved goods that women can purchase in the camps.
We are campaigning for standardized guidance and streamlined toolkit for improving response to menstrual hygiene management in emergencies. In our view, donated gifts are temporary and not sustainable. There is still a long way to go, however, the simple act of overcoming the taboo to openly talking about periods in such circumstances would be a great place to start.
Research shows that when girls gain access to education, they become economically productive, politically engaged and socially aware. Educating girls has been further shown to improve health for mothers and children, to lower HIV infection rates, to reduce hunger and to increase a country’s GDP. However access to education is still a problem for millions of children around the world, especially girls. A lot of things stand in the way between a girl and a classroom, but menstrual hygiene has a huge impact on education.
When a girl receives seven or more years of education, she typically:
–Marries 4 years later
–Has 2.2 fewer children
–Is less vulnerable to poverty and abuse (McIntyre 2006)
But the current situation is far from achieving this:
–In Kenya, 80.7% of girls attend primary school but only 20.5% of these attend secondary. Adolescent girls across Kenya miss close to 3.5m learning days per month due to their periods.
–Girls in India can miss up to 5 days of school each month once they begin menstruating
–According to the 2015 UN Children’s Fund, one in ten girls in Africa miss school days during her period, and some of those girls drop out entirely.
It is unacceptable that in 2016 girls around the world are still being deprived of their right to education because of something as basic and human as menstrual health. Great work is being done by NGOs to address this but it is not a priority. We need to lead and continue the conversation on menstrual hygiene to break the silence and the stigma that perpetuate the problem.
If you would like to know more or would like to help please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org