How Far Can a Reusable Sanitary Pad Take You?

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Globally there are over 800 million women and girls living on less than $1.25 a day. They live in extremely challenging conditions and lack access to the basic hygiene products that allow them to manage their menstruation with dignity.

During their periods, the fear and stigma of blood stains on their uniforms deters girls from attending school. Women walk and work for long hours while wearing thick pieces of cloth or wads of dry grass. These homemade solutions not only fail to protect them but leave them at the end of the day with blisters on their legs.

This was the reality that hit me when I was working in rural Uganda, and as a women and as a designer I felt the responsibility to do something about it, and I did it the way designers know, by making things.

With an umbrella, a mosquito net, pair of scissors and thread, I manage to replicate the properties and features of a disposable sanitary pad but with materials I had on hand. The result of this exercise was the design of the very first hybrid sanitary pad, a reusable 100% leak-proof holder that can be filled with any absorbent material either reusable or disposable, that can be locally produced.

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The next step is creating access to Be Girl to the 800 million women and girls who need it the most. Currently, we are running pilots in Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. I'm also spending the next couple of months in Washington D.C. in the Halcyon Incubator planning the global launch. Stay tuned for more updates.

- diana sierra