We spoke to some links in the chain…
Caroline is a long term Irise buddy who has been supporting us for three years. She is a UK medical student who was motivated to get involved after hearing about how lack of pads and information about menstruation was preventing girls in Uganda from realising their full potential. She remembered how shaken up she felt when she started her own period even with access to pads and information about what was happening. She believes that all women and girls should be able to menstruate in dignity.
Esther and Michael are the Directors of Easy Pad, a Ugandan social enterprise supported by Irise and made possible by people like Caroline. Easy Pad is a washable, reusable sanitary pad made by Ugandan women for Ugandan women. Esther was inspired to start Easy Pad because she recognised that the product would help women and girls in the community through providing an affordable sanitary product and income generating opportunities for women in production. She knew that she would buy the product because it costs less and lasts longer.
Next we visited Mukono District to meet Mary, an Irise entrepreneur and Chair Lady of a local women's’ group. Mary enrolled in Irise’s entrepreneur scheme through partner Community Based Organisation EACO. Mary’s love for helping her community is what drives her. She says the support and training she receives to sell sanitary products makes her ready to pitch whenever she is called upon.
Finally we meet two school girls, Winnie and Ruth, who are receiving pads and education through Irise’s efforts. We ask both girls who inspires them the most and they reply without hesitation, “Susan, the one who came to talk to us about pads.” Ruth tells us how she was afraid of menstruation before the teaching because she hadn’t been told much about it. Now she is reassured and will be comfortable and free during her periods. Winnie adds that she would like to tell all girls “that her periods are normal and they do not last forever.”
Buddy up through matching what you spend on sanitary products every month in donations to Irise to ensure that all women and girls have what they need to menstruate with dignity.
Visit www.irise.org.uk/invest-in-a-girl to find out more.