Frequently Asked Questions
We provide young African schoolgirls from underserved communities with menstrual education, mentorship, and supplies. The majority of these young schoolgirls are between the ages of 9 and 14. Because not every young schoolgirl in a school will have begun to see her periods, schoolgirls who have not yet begun to see their periods are given a copy of our comic books and are educated and mentored on periods and puberty during our workshops. Those who are menstruating are given menstrual supplies (3 free reusable sanitary pads) and a period bracelet to help them keep track of their periods. Our offices are located in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, with communications and development officers in Malawi, Egypt, and South Africa. We are constantly working with community-based organizations throughout Africa to help bring PadHer to their community.
Period poverty is an overwhelming concept in sub-Saharan Africa. Having a period is unaffordable in Africa, yet no one really talks about it. According to one survey, 84% of students have missed school during their period owing to a lack of menstruation supplies. Access to menstrual products is a basic human need, and it is unacceptable to continue to overlook period poverty, especially in Africa. One in 10 girls in Africa miss school during their periods. Many girls drop out of school altogether once they begin menstruating. Our young girls should not miss 20% of school days in a given year or drop out due to a lack of information or lack of sanitary products. There’s already a lot standing in their way; from pervasive poverty to persistent cultural attitudes, to forced early marriages and child labour. Periods shouldn’t be one of them!
“I met a lady in Nairobi who told me how she started her period at age eight and never told her parents because she felt she had a problem. As a result, she did not use a pad until she was 12 because she did not know what was wrong with her and could not tell anyone for fear of being judged.
She used cotton and did not start using pads until girls at school were asked to come forward and get sanitary pads if they had started having their periods. She decided to use the sanitary pads, not knowing if she had her periods or not, as hers were irregular, and she thought they were a problem rather than periods. She even changed schools to keep her friends from finding out what she was going through.
Her story made me understand the importance of period education to young schoolgirls. This story inspired the creation of PadHer.” —Chika Nwaogu, founder of PadHer Initiative.
As a social enterprise, PadHer manufactures and distributes high-quality, low-cost reusable sanitary pads for women and girls from low-income households and uses the profit to help fight period poverty in Africa. Every pad sold is used to provide a free pad for a young African schoolgirl who can not afford one. Visit Padher.com to know more.
Although many young African schoolgirls from underserved communities lack the infrastructure and resources (clean water, soap, private bathrooms, etc.) to manage a reusable pad hygienically, we cannot deny the fact that a disposable sanitary pad poses an even bigger challenge, like disposal. Many of these girls cannot afford sanitary pads, so giving them a disposable sanitary pad will only be a temporary fix. We would not be ending period poverty in this way.
Period products have a measurable environmental impact and choosing reusable products over disposable ones can help the environment and possibly our health.
In the future, we hope to help these young schoolgirls gain access to the infrastructure and resources they need to manage their reusable pads effectively. Help us reach this goal by donating.
Although reusable tampons are one of several new eco-friendly alternatives to disposable tampons and pads, we have not started giving young schoolgirls this option. However, we hope to add this option soon.
We do not have a program for boys, though the Girls Only comic book series was created with boys in mind. We named our comic series Girls Only to catch the attention of young boys, who have inquisitive minds and will wonder why it is only for girls. We did this because, to eliminate period shaming, boys must also learn about their periods.
Nonetheless, we are currently working on a comic book called Boys Too, dedicated to teaching young boys about puberty and even periods, with an emphasis on how they can show empathy towards young girls like themselves on their periods.