Pad for Pad

Pad for Pad: passing on the power of informed choice

Pad for Pad connects our customers and adolescent girls in India through the shared experience of menstruation, respect for our bodies, and love for the earth. When women and girls around the world chose to use our cloth pads their purchase ensures that other girls, who might not otherwise be able to, get to access clean, alternative menstrual products and answers to their questions. It’s an idea we like to call ‘eco-sisterhood.’

We started Pad for Pad because we saw that many women and girls in our area of Tamil Nadu have a lot of unanswered questions about their bodies and the menstrual cycle, mostly because menstruation is a topic that is not openly talked about. This observed need for safe learning spaces and the growing challenge of dealing with sanitary waste across India inspired us to replace silence with conversation and action. Since 2013 we have been partnering with government schools in Tamil Nadu and organisations across India to bring the Pad for Pad program to girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

 The Pad for Pad sessions are designed to give girls the skills to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity, and the chance to relate to menstruation as a normal, healthy experience. In addition to providing menstrual health education and offering free cloth pads, we open up spaces for reflection on how menstruation is viewed in our communities and on related ritual practices that might impact girls and women. We use interactive teaching tools, like posters, felted model-uteruses, and ‘first period story’ sharing to create a fun and memorable session. In the coming years, we look forward to incorporating more creative expression and embodied learning in our sessions.

 In the communities in which we work, the Pad for Pad session is often the first chance girls have ever had to ask questions and expresses their curiosity about menstruation in an open way—and they get answers, too!

Pad for Pad Kit includes: 4 pads (Eco Femme Day Pad Plus or option of Foldable pads if preferred ) made from cotton flannel and with a leak proof layer; a travel/storage pouch; and instruction leaflet (available in Hindi and Tamil). Colour and pattern of pads and pouch may vary from that shown in the image.

We can also offer an option for providing materials for girls to self stitch an additional pad under this program – an activity that girls love and feel proud of!

How does Pad for Pad work?

We include a contribution in the price of our internationally sold pads—about 86 INR per pad; this money covers the cost of facilitation and educational materials for our sessions and allow us to offer 4 of our washable cloth pads and a carry pouch as a free choice (In India the 86 INR is not included in the price; customers can choose to add a pad purchase for a rural girl when they buy pads or contribute independently).

Why target adolescent girls?

  • Create informed choiceIn June 2011, the Indian government initiated a scheme to provide free disposable pads to adolescent girls (age 10-19) in rural India. This scheme means that at least 90 million disposable pads are tossed aside or burned each month! Considering that consumer patterns are set early on, we would like to offer girls in this age group information about alternative menstrual products that reduce sanitary waste, and the chance to access such a product.
  • Educational and developmental impact: Knowing that menarche and menstruation are normal, healthy signs of growing up can help girls to experience less anxiety as development progresses. For this reason, we target adolescent girls who are still becoming familiar with their menstrual cycle in order to answer their questions and assuage fears. We have also learned that some girls miss school on their period days or drop out altogether because they do not have access to menstrual products or because they experience unmanageable discomfort. Providing information, resources, and products mitigates this problem and allow girls to continue their personal development by staying enrolled and fully participating in school.
  • IndependenceMost girls do not have independent purchasing power. The choice of sanitary product is generally made by her parents, and limited to what the mother (or other female relative) already knows about—usually recycled cloth or disposable pads.
  • Cultural contextWe work mainly with rural girls because in the rural areas there is still a strong culture of using cloth for menstruation, so switching to a revitalised form of cloth is quite feasible. Rural areas also have less access to sanitary products and there is no safe manner to dispose of them.

Our progress at a glance:

Year 1

(2013)

Year 2

(2014)

Year 3

(2015)

Year 4

(2016)

Our Goal

(2017)

Number of girls receiving kits 688 1740 3650 6539 7500
Number of pads distributed 2762 6960 13,676 26,156 30,000
Number of educational sessions (direct & with partners) 32 64 111 223 250
Donations received (in INR) 4,79,155 8,67,942 13,79,255 17,11,607 25,80,000

Our final figures for year 4 (April ’16 – March ’17):

Girls reached - 6905
Pads distributed - 26,156
Number of sessions - 223
Donations received - 17,11,607

How can I support the Pad for Pad program?

In addition to the contributions that are built into our international sales we are happy to receive support from individuals around the world; your donations will go to covering the facilitation cost of sessions, Pad for Pad kits, and any training or support our implementation partners might need—all allowing an adolescent girl the chance to make informed choices and speak openly about menstruation in a safe context. You can make donations directly on our Indian and Worldwide online shop or follow the instructions below.

Does Pad for Pad partner with organisations?

Yes! We work with implementation partners and organisations across India to spread menstrual health education and washable cloth pads for free. You can see who we are currently partnered with at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in being an implementation partner and bringing Pad for Pad to your institution, please click here to learn more about our program, our requirements and to download and complete our request form.

Please Note:

1. Specify in the beneficiary field ¨Eco Femme – Pad for Pad”
2. You can give 2 Lakhs INR, 2000 USD and 1000 Euro as max amounts per one transfer per day
3. Contact us directly for large donations within India, which might be eligible for Income Tax deduction under sec. 80G

Measuring impact of educational outreach work

We take evaluation very seriously in order to measure the impact of our educational outreach work. 3 months after a Pad for Pad session, we return to check on how the girls have adapted to using cloth pads and monitor the learning and behaviour changes that occurred as a result of the menstrual health educational session. We also periodically conduct in­depth interviews with a sample set of girls to gain deeper insight into how the session impacted them – whether they learned and adopted healthy menstrual practices and have acquired the confidence and personal skills to speak about menstruation and share their knowledge with peers. We ask all our Pad for Pad implementation partners to also undertake program evaluation.

  • "After the session at school , I told my sister who has not got her periods about what's happening in the body and what periods are. I have also been tracking my periods since then."

    Anila, 17yrs
    Anila, 17yrs
  • "I shared with my friend what I learnt from the Eco Femme class and I eat extra vegetables during my periods as advised."

    Gayathri, 16yrs
    Gayathri, 16yrs
  • "I have been using Eco Femme pads, they are very comfortable and easy to maintain. More than the cloth I was using before. I also practice the yoga she taught."

    Kanchana, 13yrs
    Kanchana, 13yrs
  • "I spoke for the first time about periods to my aunt and my cousin, we discussed about what is happening in the 28 days and why girls act sensitive. After the session I don't restrict myself from feeding the dogs and watering the plants."

    Pavithra, 14yrs
    Pavithra, 14yrs
  • "I take good rest as was mentioned during the class and now I have reduced cramps. I thought the class was very informative and I remember about the uterus model she showed in the class and the positioning of the uterus."

    Ranjitha, 15 yrs
    Ranjitha, 15 yrs
  • "I told my sister and mother that periods blood is not dirty and how important it is to rest during periods if having heavy and painful periods. Since the class, in situations where certain practices have to be followed, I act according to the situation."

    Renuka, 13yrs
    Renuka, 13yrs
  • "I feel confident that I am the one in my family to know about menstruation and every time a cousin gets her first period they send her to me explain about whats happening in her body, I have explained to at least 7 of them."

    Saranya,16yrs
    Saranya,16yrs
  • "Since I got the Eco Femme pads I don't have to go through the process of digging holes in the earth to bury the used pads and I'm happy about it and also try to maintain a less oily and less snacky diet during my period, I have also been tracking my period in my school dairy."

    Shagul, 16yrs
    Shagul, 16yrs

We regularly prepare reports on the progress of the Pad for Pad program. Please clink on links below to learn more about the progress towards our targets and the impact the program is making.

Nov 2014

June 2015

Jan 2016

May 2016

Yearly report 2016-17

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter by providing your email address in the box at the bottom of the page!

Thank You

Our thanks to our implementation partners for helping us to reach more girls around India.

Thanks also to Two Rags – a socially minded giveback partner who supports the pad for pad program by enabling their own socially-conscious customers to be the driving force in empowering girls through their purchases.

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