About 52% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month. But the fact is, the majority of women have no access to clean and safe sanitary products, or to a clean and private space in which to change menstrual cloths or pads.
Menstrual Hygiene Day was created to help to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.
That’s why we chose to this day to share the impact that Cora has made towards helping to ensure that every woman and girl can manage her menstruation in a safe and dignified way, wherever she is.
It Begins with India
In rural India, one in four adolescent girls from 12 to 18 years old drop out of school after they begin menstruating because of inadequate menstrual protection like sanitary pads - only about 12% have access to to them. The girls who do stay in school are absent about five days every single month.
To help keep girls in school by giving them access to the menstrual products they need, Cora has partnered with Aakar Innovations in India, a social enterprise that produces an innovative, affordable and biodegradable brand of high-quality sanitary pads. They are produced in small women-operated mini-factories that can be set up in villages and slums where there’s a need for jobs and menstrual products. The mini-factories support the local economy by creating jobs for women and a sustainable, affordable, local source of biodegradable pads for all girls and women in the community.
Cora purchases pads from Aakar’s mini-factories, generating revenue for them, and then provides those pads at no cost to girls in local schools who otherwise couldn’t afford them and would stay home during their periods.
Among girls who are given pads, the dropout rate goes down by 90%.
Aakar’s vision is to create awareness and access to affordable, high quality, environmental friendly menstrual hygiene products - thereby empowering women and girls to make informed choices and enabling them to take charge of their own socio-economic development. In order to achieve this, they created a sustainable pad.
Aakar’s Anandi brand pad is fully compostable and aimed at solving rural and urban disposal issues all while ensuring environmental sustainability. Anandi pads are produced with locally sourced agricultural waste, which makes them capable of disintegrating into natural elements. Additionally, the materials used to produce the Anandi pad ensure that no toxicity is left in the soil.
Aakar provides accessibility by setting up production units in rural villages and urban slums. Aakar's dedicated workers are then able to produce and distribute Anandi pads throughout their own villages and homes.
SANDHYA | Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
The first time Sandhya got her period, her mother gave her a cloth. She hated washing the cloth so much that she used to wash it with her feet. Now, she makes her own sanitary pads. “I feel confident. I got to know more about sanitary napkins and the science behind menstruation. I feel proud working for a cause.” Her dreams? “I hope to get a promotion and I wish that my children will get good education and I want everyone to be happy.”
RINKI | Maadora, UP
The first time Rinki got her period, she said “I got really scared seeing the blood as I didn’t know about it.” After telling her sister in law about it, Rinki was told that she had “grown up now.” When we asked about her work with Aakar, Rinki replied, “I feel great and independent as this is for the first time I have moved out of my house to work...With this job, I have started saving and my family is equally happy.”
ANKITA | Radhapur, Konkani
A student now at the National College, Ankita told us, “I feel very comfortable using Anandi pads and I feel good that it is compostable and environment friendly.” With her sustainable pads, Ankita can stay in school during her period. “School is important because I have many friends there and I love meeting them. I get knowledge about various things in school and hopefully with that knowledge I will secure a decent job too.”
These are just three women that Cora’s mission serves. Since our launch in February, Cora has provided thousands of pads to girls in need. Our mission is to give you a #periodwithapurpose. Join us in our mission to make safe and healthy menstrual products accessible to girls and women globally.
Help Girls Globally, Just by Managing Your Period with Cora
This weekend, you can help women and girls in need by joining Cora. Create your custom subscription by Monday at midnight and use the code MHDAYFIVE to receive $5 off your first order.