Japanese Woman’s Spinning Pad Dryer Helps Send Menstruating Teenage Girls Back To School In Africa & Asia

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While cloth pads are gaining popularity among environmentally conscious urban users, most Indian women with access to menstrual hygiene still opt for sanitary napkins because of its convenience and hassle-free disposal. Though organic, reusable and chemical-free, many women shy away from using cloth pads since washing and reusing a dirty, used pad is either frowned upon with disgust or avoided due to the fast-paced lifestyle.

The story is almost entirely different if we look at the women from a lesser privileged background in developing countries. For them, cloth pads don’t come in fresh, fragrant cotton fabrics with quirky patterns, colours or motifs, and sanitary napkins are a luxury outright. Mostly they settle for discarded bits and pieces of clothes and unclean rags, owing to the taboo of being ‘impure’ during menstruation.

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

If men see these menstrual rags being dried in the sun, they would lose their sight. This is a very popular belief prevailing in hinterlands across India. Or if one considers the African nation of Niger, where village women go to clean and dry their rags only at households where there is no male member. Such stigma leads to the rags being cleaned & dried in secrecy in some dingy corner, which causes bacterial overgrowth in the objects that demand utmost hygiene.

Mariko Higaki Iwai’s solution – Flo

The issues are endless and difficult to eradicate in a whisk, due to the age-old prejudices, but Japanese design student Mariko Higaki Iwai seems to have found a near-perfect solution. Her simple yet lifesaving innovation Flo is a menstrual hygiene kit that might save thousands of young girls from dropping out of school after getting their periods. Aside from having a compact pouch that enables young girls to carry pads (both clean and dirty ones) inside their skirts without having to worry about stains, the most intriguing component of Flo is perhaps the spinning dryer that dries the pads fast with less water, less energy, less time and of course, much lesser mess.

The innovation has bagged many international awards since it was debuted in 2014.

It is specifically designed for women from disadvantaged families surviving on less than Rs 86 a day. In an interview with Fast Company, Iwai revealed, “There are people who are already making reusable pads and doing great stuff. There was no use for us to make a better pad.” That is why her team’s focus was on developing a low-cost, easily portable menstrual kit which lets the girls dry their cloth pads faster and in relative privacy. An outer cloth cover hides the washed pads inside the dryer basket once it is left outside for drying in the sun.

About Flo

A waistbelt with two pouches enables girls to carry both their used and fresh pads to school and back, hiding it under their skirt. The zip lock system prevents any leakage of fluid or odour from the used pads.

Flo Menstrual Hygiene Kit

A single Flo kit costs around INR 207 and can be used for a prolonged period. As of now, commercial marketing and distribution of the kit have been started by global non-profit foundations in developing countries.

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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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