GreenPads helps rural school girls maintain menstrual hygiene at a low cost with biodegradable pads
In Nigeria, especially in rural/semi urban areas, most girls entering secondary school never complete their education, one of the reasons is of lack of access to affordable sanitary pads. Most families living on less than $1 a day cannot afford to buy sanitary pads for their girls as they are too expensive. Most girls resort to use unhygienic materials i.e. notebook papers, rags, etc. thus most girls prefer to stay at home during their menstrua period which cause them to miss 4-5 classes a month
Meet Rachel, a 15-year old girl growing up in AladeIdanre, a rural community in Southwest Nigeria. Rachel wants to go to school without worrying that her uniform is going to soak through with blood. That’s not too much to ask, right? Access to sanitary pads is all it would take. Most girls that you might know likely have this fundamental need take care of.
Rachel’s family, however, is too poor to afford sanitary pads. Her improvised solutions – old towels, rags, paper from notebooks and magazines – frequently fail, and cause infections. She has started staying home during her periods to avoid the shame. Her teachers have noticed that she is falling behind, and worry that this could lead to other undesirable consequences, like her getting pregnant too early for her own good.
Stories like Rachel’s play out all over rural Nigeria every day.
My name is Damilola Samuel, and I started GreenPad Concepts to put an end to these stories. I have worked with poor farming families all my life, and I understand the problem with the pads currently in market: they are imported and beyond the reach of families like Rachel’s.
Our GreenPad Concepts solution – which we have just started producing samples of – is to make pads out of locally sourced banana fiber. These pads are eco-friendly and affordable. Rachel’s family has bought a few samples, and we now have the opportunity to turn what was once a girl’s fond wish into reality.
Ms. Bumi Adeyeye – Rachel’s science teacher has this to say: “Most rural school girls completely lack knowledge on menstrual hygiene; they are not aware of sanitary towels because they have never seen one. Before GreenPad, every month Rachel’s improvised pad was soaked through but there was no running water to clean it. Every month, she missed 4 – 5 days at school and this has really affected her academic performances. If she continues without access to sanitary pads, she will miss more classes and later drop out of secondary school. GreenPad will help rural and marginalized girls stay in school and get equal access to education as boys.”
GreenPad Concepts has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of Rachels all over Nigeria, but we have one big problem.
Our manual manufacturing process means we can only produce about 6000 pads a month, when there are about 400 school girls that could benefit just in Rachel’s small town. If we had the machinery to scale our operation, we could do SO much more.
The machine to pulverize the raw material – however – costs $5000, and machine to finish assembling the pads costs $11000. A total of USD 16000 that can help girls all over Nigeria. These funds are beyond my reach. This is where I hope you can help!
Help me achieve my dream of empowering girls across Nigeria. Help us employ local women to spread awareness of issues surrounding menstrual hygiene. Help us see a day when no Nigerian girl has to drop out of school because she cannot afford something as essential to her hygiene as a sanitary napkin. Please donate and help us raise the funds we need!
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