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Gift a Pad Newsletter Issue 1
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Welcome to the Gift a Pad Newsletter!

 

 

Shhhh...out! Speaking About the Unspoken

 

 

Our progress to date

 

 

Udavi School’s Women of Wisdom and Courage: a Peer-to-Peer Education Pilot

 

 

Plans for Growth: Scaling up the Menstrual Health Workshop

 

 

Thanks and Welcome

Tracking progress:

1,509 girls reached
5,466 pads gifted
99% of girls tried the pads
77% liked them
62% had no trouble washing and drying
Workshops in 16 different schools

Yoga and Herbs for Menstruation:

If you have not already seen them, check out Eco Femme’s ‘Yoga for menstruating Women’ video and 'Natural Treatment for Menstrual Discomfort' book; we include excerpts from both in the Menstrual Health Workshop. Hope you enjoy!

About Eco Femme and Gift a Pad

We are a women's empowerment initiative. Rising from rural India and reaching women around the world, we promote and revitalize menstrual practices that are: dignified, healthy, affordable, and eco-positive.

Gift a Pad builds an international network of eco sisters by helping cloth pads reach girls who otherwise cannot afford menstrual care products; international pad purchases include donations that enable us to offer a Menstrual Health Workshop and a kit of 4 washable cloth pads and travel pouch.

Welcome to the Gift a Pad Newsletter!

Greetings friends! We are excited to share the first edition of Eco Femme’s Gift a Pad Newsletter. This newsletter is a way for us to share the impact your Gift a Pad donations and the Eco Femme Menstrual Health Workshops have on impoverished adolescent girls in India. It’s also a way for us to share the progress of our educational work. In this edition we share with you:
• An overview of our achievements to reach girls
• Highlights from the field
• Our exciting plans for growth
• What’s new
• Our thanks!

 

Shhhh...out! Speaking About the Unspoken

girls from ??? school
 

As you may know, menstruation in India is considered a taboo subject that is generally not openly spoken about. As a consequence of this, many girls do not understand what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and often feel tremendously embarrassed and afraid, especially at menarche (the onset of menstruation). This silence leads to a lot of unanswered questions and a lack of access to necessary resources—like pads or clean cloths to use during menstruation and a private place to change products during the school day.

Eco Femme’s Menstrual Health Workshop, made possible by Gift a Pad donations (either through international pad sales or separate donations), addresses this silence and replaces it with conversation. In these sessions, girls learn about menstruation, the menstrual cycle, different products, and how to take care of themselves; additionally they get the chance to interact with the facilitator who shares her own period stories and acts as a positive role model. In the session we also offer them a pack of 4 cloth pads and travel pouch to try if they would like to. The sessions are designed to give girls the skills to manage their periods with dignity, the confidence to speak up when they have concerns about their period, and the chance to relate to menstruation as a normal healthy experience. This all contributes to making menstruation a more comfortable and positive experience during school and beyond.

 

Our progress to date

 

October 2014 is the 2nd year anniversary of the Menstrual Health Workshop! We are very happy with the results we have achieved so far and are excited for the future. We reached 1,509 girls through both direct implementation and implementation partners and gifted 5466 pads. When asked what they liked about the education session, some girls said: “I learnt new information”, “I learnt a lot about our bodies”,”I learnt how to track the cycle and how important it is to know the process”, “I came to know the environmental hazards of using the pad”, “I learnt how to ease pain during menstruation.”

Thanks to our facilitators and team-members Vatchala and Harishini for conducting these interactive sessions!

We would also like to thank our implementation partners who conducted the Menstrual Health Workshop at their institution and gave the girls there a chance to try our washable cloth pads. Please visit Eco Femme on Facebook for pictures and reports from these sessions! This year we partnered with:

 

Udavi School’s Women of Wisdom and Courage: a Peer-to-Peer Education Pilot

 
   

“To be born a girl is a gift we are given. To become a real woman of wisdom and courage is a gift we give the world.” –Marianne Williamson

In November of 2013, Eco Femme ran the Menstrual Health Workshop with 9th and 10th standard girls at Udavi, an Auroville Outreach School in Edayanchavadi. Following the sessions, the 9th standard girls took on an exciting and inspiring project: teaching the 8th standard girls about menstruation, different menstrual products, and menarche celebrations around the world. This project was part of a mini-Pilot to explore the potential of peer-to-peer menstrual health education. Providing relatable information on menstruation is important for girls of all ages, but especially for girls who have not yet reached menarche or who have had only 1 or 2 periods, as this is the time of most fear and anxiety. Peer-to-peer education is a potentially comfortable, positive, and empowering way to introduce girls to menstruation. With the fabulous support of their biology teacher, Dominique, and other teachers at Udavi, the 9th standard girls mastered the material, learned how to stitch cloth pads, explained it all confidently to their peers, and got the chance to start a chain of menstruation education at Udavi School. The girls really enjoyed reading and presenting about world-wide menarche celebrations from the book ‘Cycling to Grandma’s House.’ After the sessions, girls said they felt ‘bold, ‘confident’, ‘happy’, ‘excited’, and ‘reduced shy.’ They have been given the gift of being born a girl, and are well on their way to becoming women of wisdom and courage!

Plans for Growth: Scaling up the Menstrual Health Workshop

In January 2015 we will begin to implement a plan supported by USAID and Dasra to scale up our Menstrual Health Workshop; we aim to reach 10,000 girls across the country over 2 years. We look forward to creating new partnerships with organizations working with adolescent girls around the country, and to continuing our work here in Tamil Nadu. We’ll keep you updated on our scaling up progress through the coming editions of this newsletter.

We are happy to announce that it is now possible to ‘gift a pad’ and support the facilitation of the Menstrual Health Workshop independent from pad purchases; you can now make a donation directly via our website. Your contributions directly enable adolescent girls to access sustainable menstrual products and an educational program, which make it possible for them to experience healthy, dignified, affordable, and eco-positive periods.

 

Thanks and Welcome

Thank You! To... Saphara in Northern Ireland, Girl Power in Japan and Webvrouw in The Netherlands for generous donations to support the Menstrual Health Workshop and to all of our customers for supporting this work.

Welcome to our new implementation partners:
Voice 4 Girls in Andhra Pradesh
We Are Young Foundation in Assam


We plan to share a newsletter with you quarterly and we would welcome your feedback or suggestions for things you would like to hear more about through these newsletters.

Copyright © 2014 Eco Femme, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
info@ecofemme.org

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