How I empower people to make their own sanitary pads

How I empower people to make their own sanitary pads

Menstrual cycles are natural – period. But sanitary products, though necessary, are expensive.

Orefile Malebo
Orefile Malebo / Beautiful News.

When people can’t afford pads or tampons, they use dangerous and unhygienic substitutes. Orefile Malebo is addressing this issue by teaching people how to make their own cheap, reusable pads. 

“My hope is to alleviate the burden that comes with menstruation,” she says. 

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Through social media, Malebo posts videos demonstrating how to sew sustainable and hygienic-sanitary pads from common household items such as cotton face cloths and plastic bags. The tutorials aid women in becoming more self-sufficient and keeping their dignity intact. “These can be beneficial to girls in all communities because they are safe, accessible, and they’re easy to make,” Malebo says. 

Because the pads are reusable, they help people who don’t have access to waste management resources - as well as the environment, by eliminating the use of products that take up to 500 years to decompose.

Malebo’s videos are part of the Sis Paddy project, an educational initiative which she’s been running since 2016. It’s created a sanctuary where people can speak freely about periods and abolish the embarrassment caused by warped perspectives of bodily functions. By putting her mind to it, Malebo has come up with a reliable replacement that will positively impact communities in South Africa.

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