International performing artist and filmmaker, Wilbur Sargunaraj recently had a chance to sit down with our founder to learn about O-Pads.
Nyakabungo girls school and Makhill school students receiving O-Pads:
At Buwama Luwero Uganda delivering O Pads at a community centre for girls with sickle cells. More girls than we had anticipated showed up and some didn't get O Pads.
A survey was done 3 months after the distribution of O-PADS at Burema Secondary school (Kanungu) on 24/09/2014 and it showed that there were no more pad thefts in the school after all the 131 girls at Burema Secondary were given O-PADS. School attendance for the girls in boarding section changed significantly from 64 boarders in the first term to 82 boarders in the second term and 87 boarders in the third term. The girls said before the distribution of O-Pads they were not comfortable being boarders since at home they use rags which cannot be used at school. More surveys on the impact of O-Pads will be done in 2015 at Makhill Girls’ Vocational School (200 girls given O-Pads), Nyamiyaga Secondary School (100 girls) and Nyakabungu Girls’ School (310 girls). These are Schools in Kanungu district where O-PADS were donated.
O-Pads are made by a group of women and young girls being mentored under the programme and they earn an income. O-Pads deliver the pads to the girls at no extra charge. The pads are used for at least a year. This relieves the parents from the monthly sanitary pad costs for a whole year as they cater to the other needs of the family. As a result, the girls stay in school with no menstrual related absenteeism. The community gets better educated girls and there are fewer drop outs. O-Pads is also a mentoring and skills training group that hosts O-Clubs in schools where girls are using O-Pads. O-Talks on various topics like hygiene, etiquette, and entrepreneurship are conducted and during the holiday skills such as pottery, jewelry making, vegetable growing, and computer knowledge are passed on to the students.
"I would like to see that there is no young girl or woman disempowered by the simple biological process of a menstruation period." - Pamela, Founder
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It is a great priviledge for us to be partnering together with recording artist, film maker and SIMPLE SUPERSTAR, Wilbur Sargunaraj to bring O-Pads to more girls in Uganda. As a part of the #girlarise campaign, Wilbur has been promoting O-Pads on his musical tours and helping raise money for the cause. He is a #firstclass friend to us and to all the young women who are being empowered through O-Pads!
Wilbur and O-Pads Founder, Pamela
Article in The New Indian Express
The O-Pads team manufactures cost-effective, reusable (washable) cloth sanitary pads in Uganda in order to limit the high rates of menstrual-related absenteeism among primary and secondary schoolgirls in rural Africa. The pads are made by local Ugandan women giving them the opportunity to generate an income and send their kids to school. At the same time our menstrual kit provides schoolgirls with affordable, environmentally-friendly menstrual protection for up to 1 year at approximately 41% of the total cost of a one-year supply of commercial sanitary pads. Each O-pad pack comes packaged with full instructions, and all packaging is recyclable. The packs of seven (a year's supply for one girl) currently costs just $20 U.S. Dollars.
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Our O-pads style of cloth pads is all-in-one, in which the absorbent layer and the waterproof material are sewn inside the pad. The O-pad model is sewn from most often cotton flannel or hemp (which is highly absorbent and not as bulky as cotton). O-pads have become a popular solution among women and girls also because they are allergen and perfume-free, and thus can be more comfortable for women who suffer from irritations from using disposable pads.