Access to sanitary products is a basic right for girls and women around the world. However, in many developing countries, including Kenya, period poverty is prevalent. Not only are sanitary products expensive and therefore inaccessible to girls living in poverty, but the topic of menstruation is often taboo. The stigma around menstruation means that many girls are unable to talk to parents, teachers and peers about their periods, and so they have to figure out managing their periods alone. Many also put their health at risk due to a lack of information about safe and hygienic sanitary products.
Disposable sanitary pads can be extremely costly, therefore prohibiting girls from using them. Often girls will use rags and other materials they can easily find in the house, which are unsafe and also put their health at risk. Other times, girls are unable to source products that make them comfortable enough to leave the house, so they miss school for multiple days a month in order to manage their periods.
Reusable sanitary products not only benefit girls and women around the world, but also are environmentally friendly, limiting the use of plastic disposable pads.They can be made at home with the right materials, and used for at least a year without the need to purchase other sanitary products. As many schools lack the facilities for disposal of single use sanitary products, reusable pads are more suitable and they’re also durable so can be washed at home with water. Reusable sanitary pads are essential for reducing health risks associated with period poverty, but also in allowing girls to take control of their own periods, attend school every day and get the education they deserve.