Girls can miss up to 4 days of education a month because they don’t have access to feminine hygiene products, with millions of girls every year dropping out of school (UNICEF, 2020). What may seem like an essential to most is out of reach to many - with period poverty persisting all around the world. Without access to safe, sanitary products, women and girls often feel embarrassed, held back from learning and freedom of movement. Without alternatives some have to resort to dangerous, unhygienic or infectious means. The right to manage your periods without shame or stigma also affects more than just your physical wellbeing, it can impact self-esteem.
During the pandemic, the effects have been felt particularly hard. With schools closed for months, vulnerable girls are even more exposed, with save spaces and health services limited, teenage pregnancies have also been on the rise. Menstruation is stigmatised all over the world, with taboos, shame and stigma often rooted in gender inequality and patriarchal norms.
Menstrual Health comprises of systematic factors that link menstruation to health, well-being, education and gender equality and basic human rights - like the right to clean water. This means that giving girls access to pads can also provide the opportunity to discuss other issues, inform and empower.
No one should have to suffer because of their natural cycle, so finding a way to help women and girls deal with their period with dignity is a cause we care about. Mayamiko was started with the aim of empowering women and this is why we started using our Fashion Lab cut offs to create something special. With our beautiful prints and fresh organic cotton, the women tailors in our Malawian workshop create hundreds of re-usable sanitary kits every year. Creating something re-usable also takes away the dependency on supply chains that caused issues for many during the pandemic (BBC, 2020).
We also get a little help from partners such as We Care Youth Malawi who help to distribute our ‘positive pads’ to girls in the community who are out of school, orphaned or vulnerable, as well as The Unmentionables who also help to distribute the pads to those living in refugee camps. As well as accessing those in need, The Unmentionables promote feminine hygiene education, as well as teaching about sexual health and a woman’s worth!
If you are interested in supporting the cause, you can easily add a £2 ‘positive pad’ to your Mayamiko order, or go to our Trust website to make a bigger contribution.