Friday, October 3, 2008

Rags To Pads

A healthy period is a western luxury.

Oprah says we should celebrate our periods. Which is easy to say when a healthy period is only a trip to Walgreens away. But in rural India, the cost of your box of Stayfree can be three full days' salary. So with tampons and pads out of the question, many rural Indian women control their flows by stuffing dirty rags up inside of them.

Sorry to be so graphic. But that's how it is. And it means that poor Indian women risk vaginal and urinary tract infections (and thus illness, incontinence, and infertility) during every period from puberty to menopause.

But today you can help solve this problem by donating seed capital to a small-scale, market-based pilot effort to create affordable pads.

Help create health and opportunity -- at the same time.

Your donation will help the
Pardada Pardadi Girls School create a business that a) provides extremely low-cost pads and b) creates employment opportunities for women in a region that has almost none. The money we raise will:
  • Buy a machine that makes sanitary napkins
  • Buy a year's worth of raw materials
  • Support two graduates' efforts to make the business profitable

This will cost $5,000, or the equivalent of twenty-five iPhones. Here's how it'll work.

Your donation will not create a not a charity. This program aims to create a self-sustainable business.

How you can help.

We suggest you consider $40, which is perhaps what you spend on pads over the course of the year. In a region where $2.50 a day is considered a good income, the money you spend for a year of healthy periods might change some lives for a lifetime.

Please see this site to donate


22 comments:

AR said...

This is charity I can get behind. The only way to create long-term improvements in quality of life is to increase the capacity to generate wealth, and the people best able to do that are entrepreneurs.

If you're interested in this, you'll probably also be interested in the operation discussed here, which does the same sort of thing.

Renee said...

@AR I checked you link, it plays but I didn't get any sound for some reason.

You and I are for this for very different reasons. I think that micro business helps but it is still occuring within a system that impoverishes. It does not take into account the hours of labour that women have to put in to make it a success and who is watching their children while they are slaving away. It is better than abject poverty but comes with a whole host of other issues.

AR said...

Can you get sound from YouTube videos? It's also available here.

Sometimes the sound in my browser goes away randomly. It comes back if I exit and re-launch it, and that might be what's happening with you.

Oliver A. FP said...

Wow, that's a fantastic idea. I'll donate the equivalent of $40 - wish I was rich enough to give the whole 5k!

Brilliant idea.

Danyell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danyell said...

Do we know what materials will go into making the pads? I ask because I don't think mass-produced, disposable pads are all that healthy. I mean, it beats some alternatives, especially in regions where they may not always have access to clean water to wash out reusable supplies. I just don't wish them to start using products that might also be unhealthy. I understand that my opinion is coming from a place of privilege, I just don't think Western women always have the healthiest ideas of menstrual hygiene since we face a certain amount of patriarchy in how we are taught to view our bodies and natural cycles.

But I do hope this program can encourage healthier practices and I like that they are giving these young women a chance to invest in business and produce goods that are for women, by women.

Renee said...

@Danyell, I personally would prefer the menstrual cup but if clean water is an issue that may not be so viable. I believe that this is a worthwhile cause though.

Pizza Diavola said...

Awesome cause! I like that it's empowering girls and women to create their own business and employment and it's for a uniquely female cause that is often overlooked.

I'm curious about your use of the term Western privilege -- do you think this form of privilege revolves more around nationality or around class? I'm wondering because there are non-Western countries where the standard of living is high, which would seem to indicate that it's the vastly uneven distribution of wealth that's the problem, rather than nationality. On the other hand, the average standard of living in Western nations are higher than the average standard of living in India, and these differences are often influenced by historical, societal, and governmental factors. I imagine "Western privilege" could be particularly apt here given the history of British colonialism in India.

Renee said...

@Pizza I should have made it clear that I am not the author of this post. It was written by the organization requesting aid. I assume that they have their reasons for choosing to call it western privilege.

Pizza Diavola said...

Oh, sorry, I didn't catch that.

AR said...

Did you get to see the presentation I linked?

Anyway, I think we're actually in this for the exact same reasons: to reduce poverty. We just disagree on the means of doing do.

Renee said...

@AR yes I did finally get the link to work. Again I think that what she is doing is wonderful but I still believe that a ultimately what is needed to end poverty permanently is a systems change. These programs are still dependent on the charity of others and should funding dry up these people will be in the same situation.

I would also point out that growing crops that are not sustainable is problematic in terms of land desertification. There has also been issues of women being sexually assaulted in some of these micro factories...there are alot of issues that really need to be carefully thought out. I also don't necessarily these as development when we think of the environmental foot print that some of these companies will leave behind.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I like cups too, Big D cups in my face!! Taste like salt sometime. Big woman make for big heat

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I like wooden donger article much betta. Much more easy to make fun of. Down with network administrator for taking away my wooden donger

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.