Project Dignity Update
November 19, 2014 By: Kaitlin Ball
When we founded Project Dignity in early 2013, I never imagined how personally and emotionally involved I would become. Researching menstrual hygiene, sanitation and health conditions in Africa is one facet. Witnessing the problem first-hand was quite a different story. Traveling to Kenya and Ethiopia on behalf of Project Dignity has been a fundamentally life-changing experience. We met with very warm, friendly people dedicated to improving people’s lives through healthcare. Until this recent trip, my research had been abstract. While in Africa, I realized I had no inkling of the battle many people face every day to survive. Through Project Dignity, we provide underprivileged women and girls in developing countries safe and hygienic period protection with reusable Softcup. We worked with a specific segment of the population-people that don’t have access to basic resources like water, sanitation and hygiene. Safely managing one’s menstrual cycle is a real barrier. Most of the women and girls we worked with simply cannot afford sanitary protection. Consequently, they resort to using dried cow dung, old rags, leaves and other unhygienic methods for protection. Not only do these practices lead to infections, but they can also lead to school absenteeism and higher dropout rates. Softcup could change the lives of women and girls. It has the potential to enable them to manage their period safely and comfortably; they can live without the shame they often experience from leaking, and could attend school even when they’re on their period. In developed countries, a menstrual period is typically seen as an inconvenience. In developing countries, the lack of sustainable options to manage their menses remains a barrier to education, work and socializing. We met hundreds of girls on our recent trip. At first, many were shy and not certain how to react to Softcup. We often experience this with the women we talk to in the U.S., too. We know that Softcup is different and takes time to adjust. After discussing the female anatomy, how Softcup works, and answering many questions, we asked who wanted to try Softcup. Every single hand flew up. Many asked for another Softcup so they could share with their sisters, moms and friends. We donated 500 reusable Softcups. Our next step is to collect feedback from the girls to see how they liked Softcup and if they’ll continue to use it. Team Softcup has a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re up for the challenging and rewarding road ahead. Remember, YOU can make a difference. For every box of Softcup bought in the U.S., we’ll donate a reusable Softcup to a women or girl in need. Make a difference. Learn more at softcup.com/give ~Kaitlin
Watch Takepart Live’s segment featuring Softcup here..