Saturday, March 29, 2008

Goods 4 Girls

Goods for Girls

Some of you may have noticed the button on my side bar for Goods 4 Girls, but I wanted to take some time out today to explain what this organization is about. It was started by eco-blogger extraordinaire Crunchy Chicken and its mission is to provide young girls in Africa with proper menstrual products.

Right now, many girls do not have access to proper supplies, and thus are relying on things such as rags and newspapers. As a result, many of these young women choose to stay home from school while on their period. I don't need to tell you the impact such regular absences have on young girl's education.

Now, Proctor and Gamble has started a program to get disposable pads to many girls in Africa. Unfortunately, this program has several problems:

1) Disposable products are just that. Supplies of disposable pads need to be constantly replaced by aid programs for the girls to get a regular, sustained benefit. By contrast, most cloth pads last about 5 years or so.
2) Disposable products also create problems of disposal. Most garbage is incinerated in these areas, so Proctor and Gamble's answer is to put incinerators in the bathroom and train teachers in burning pads. Because burning pads made out of plastics is a really good idea. And teachers of poor children in Africa don't have other things to do other than burning pads all day.
3) In some parts of Africa, people believe that blood has spell-casting properties further complicating the disposability of pads. Used pads can't ever be left where other people can possibly have access to them.

By contrast, with cloth pads, the girls are able to wash out the pads themselves. (Goods 4 Girls is making sure that the communities they service are ones in which the girls have adequate access to water.)

So what can you do? It's simple. You can either make your own pads to donate to Goods 4 Girls, or you can purchase a menstrual pad kit at several places including Glad Rags, Lunapads, or Punky's Pads. Or you can donate directly to Goods 4 Girls here. Even if you can't donate much, even if you can only donate a few bucks. Every bit helps.

Thanks guys. Have a great weekend!

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