Jordan's Women Refugees Might Soon Get India's Low-Cost Period Pads — And The Jobs To Make It

"The $10 per week allowance by the UN to refugee families is too meager to think of menstrual hygiene."

In India, a woman named Swati Bedekar launched a Sakhi enterprise to enable rural Indian women to manufacture their own sanitary pads for little money. Now, one organization wants to bring India's low-cost sanitary pads to women refugees in Jordan

Loving Humanity, an organization working with the United Nations to help refugees of the conflict zone,  has plans to bring Sakhi's manufacturing model to those in Jordan. Referring to the country's infamous refugee camp in Zaatari (which is quickly becoming a permanent settlement), Loving Humanity founder Amy Peake said:

The Zataari refugee camp is made up of over 90,000 refugees who have painful stories and have lost their loved ones or left them behind in Syria. Many are disabled. There is very little water in the camp and in the freezing temperatures, the $10 per week allowance by the UN to refugee families is too meager to think of menstrual hygiene.

Peake did some fundraising to set up the manufacturing machines in Jordan, then connected with Bedekar through an activist in the U.S. Soon after, Peake was convinced that the Sakhi model was the solution.

"I realized that setting up 12 units in the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan would not just improve menstrual sanitation, but also empower at least 50 families as it brings in money through employment," Peake told The Indian Express.

iStock/IdealPhoto30
iStock/IdealPhoto30

The pads' manufacturing machine was invented by Arunachalam Muruganantham, who is hailed as a grassroots innovator, according to the Huffington Post. The business model is contingent on having women produce, sell and use the sanitary pad, which makes it ideal for women in poor areas who need other sources of income. 

There are other efforts to help women in poor areas have access to clean menstrual supplies, too. In California, for example, a group of students invented a simple solution for women who can't afford sanitary pads. 

Cover image via iStock / RadekProcyk