This year, we raised money for reusable menstrual kits for the Maasai women artisans of Sidai Designs, and the women and girls of their villages.
See our gofundme page here.
Why did we raise money for Reusable Menstruation Kits for Maasai women?
Around the world, menstruation health is a serious issue that affects women in vulnerable communities, yet it is often an experience that is hidden under taboos, patriarchy and shame.
When Maasai girls and women menstruate, they very rarely have access to feminine hygiene products.
In most cases, the reasons for this are:
- Physical access to supermarkets from isolated villages.
- Cost of pads (they are considered a luxury in the patriarchal Maasai society).
- The topic of menstruation is taboo.
- Maasai women do not have income independent of their husbands and if they do have any money, they will more likely use it on food.
- Maasai women often do not own underwear to apply pads to.
So what does a Maasai woman do during her menses?
If a woman owns underwear, she might stuff it with leaves or an extra cloth. If she does not own underwear, which is more common, she simply has no way to manage her period at all.
Maasai women say that this is a very big issue for them. Traveling around becomes uncomfortable as they struggle to keep clean, and as a result girls tend to not go to school whilst menstruating or drop out of school altogether.
As stated by UNFPA, a step towards menstrual health is ‘an important step towards safeguarding the dignity, bodily integrity and overall life opportunities of women and girls’.
The Makers of the Menstrual Kits
Set up and developed by Stephanie Fuchs of @masai_story, this enterprise employs Maasai women to produce and sell reusable menstrual kits in the Masai Steppe of Tanzania. Maasai women are empowered through training and education on making the kits, and through the economic opportunity the project provides for them.
We are proud to support the creation of economic opportunities for Maasai women, the promotion of gender equality, and efforts towards a sustainable future for the Maasai community, whilst enabling the Maasai mamas of Sidai Designs to be more comfortable during their monthly cycle.
Watch here at 17mins 51seconds to see Stephanie describing the project and the need.
Later in the project, we brought on Umoja Tanzania to also contribute kits. They are a fantastic youth organisation who also came along to talk to the women about how to use the kits and how to clean them.
What happened with the fundraiser?
Thanks to our donors, we managed to buy & distribute
200 Reusable Menstruation Kits for Maasai women and girls!
Our Maasai beaders have shared that this means that they will no longer have to cut a piece of cloth when they menstruate. Those who do use pads will no longer have to try to find the money to buy them each month.
Some women shared that as their daughters go to school where other students have access to pads, they too want to use pads rather than pieces of cloth. Each month, her mother must find the funds to buy her daughter pads, and sometimes this means taking a loan from friends.
Thanks to how many kits your donations allowed us to purchase, we can support both our beaders and the women and girls in their villages.
‘Ashe Naleng’! A big ‘thank you’ to our donors for giving Maasai women and girls the opportunity to equally participate in civic life, increase their social status and self-esteem, and reach their full potential.
See the mamas receive the menstrual kits here.