Posted on: 01 June 2017
We were very fortunate to have Freda featured in the Guardian and the Observer as one of the brands changing the period care landscape. Some snippets from the article – if you want to read the entire article.
By buying certain menstrual products, consumers can trigger a donation of supplies to poorer countries, where women are often forced to rely on old rags.
Menstruation is getting its moment: there have been tampon selfies, tampon tax campaigns around the world, and even a day dedicated to menstrual hygiene. Now, ,
Buy a pack of pads and a supply will be donated to a woman in a developing country. It’s a bit like Toms shoes, the original one-for-one social enterprise, but for tampons.
The trend may be about to catch on in the UK. London-based startup Freda is promising women in the UK that for every subscription for sanitary products it sells, it will pay for a supply to be produced by KiliPads, a women-run social enterprise in Tanzania. The pads, which are reusable, will then be handed out in local schools.
The project is still in its initial stages – there are only five women working for Kilipads, and neither Kilipads nor Freda are profitable yet. By ordering products from social enterprises such as KiliPads, Freda aims to avoid flooding the local market with western products – a criticism made of Toms shoes. “We’re trying to make it all more local – local materials, employing local women, supplying local girls,” says Freda founder Affi Parvizi-Wayne.
While periods have become popular topics, waste management is not. “Saying to people ‘let’s talk about sewage and waste disposal’ – it’s just not sexy. It’s hard to get people to say I’m going to put my money into coming up with disposable waste management systems.”
Whether it’s better to donate money directly or to a use a “buy one, give one” product depends on the project in question, but more attention and awareness of the issue is helpful… Donations won’t transform girls’ lives overnight though. “That comes when social norms around talking about this issue, when the education system provides adequate safe toilets, when girls are across the board given the information and support they need as they come of age and as their bodies change as they try to manage their periods in school. That large scale buy-in of the public sector, and of the social norms of the community and the society are what will make the biggest changes ultimately.”