Menstruation is something that people still find difficult to address and is even today considered taboo in our society at large. This creates a difficult scenario for girls to get access to sanitary pads which is a basic requirement in those five days. So to deal with this complicated situation, a team of young people have come up with a campaign called Pad2go which is a unique social venture that aims to make menstrual hygiene products and practice more accessible across Nepal through sanitary napkin vending machines.
Their team consists of two young females who realized that most schools, colleges, offices, malls, hotels and movie halls do not provide access to menstrual safeguard products. So this new idea makes menstrual products more user-friendly and menstruation less of a taboo and they hope to bring about a change in how menstruation is perceived in the Nepali society while improving menstrual hygiene management around the country.
Shubhangi is a Civil engineering graduate and Jesselina, a law graduate and since they come from diverse fields, it gives them a chance to bring different perspectives and explore various ideas and plan as a team. They describe their concept as the “ROBINHOOD EFFECT” which focuses on redistributing income to reduce economic inequality, a concept most suited for a country like Nepal where the rich are getting richer. Pad2go has collaborated with an NGO named SAATHI which is already working in remote parts of Nepal. For every pad that is bought from the vending machine, proceeds will go towards construction of toilets in the schools of Bajura.
The campaign is still quite new and is at the very beginning of their journey but they have managed to meet with various schools, colleges and offices and a few are already on board to install vending machines. They explain how Pad2go has an important relationship with schools and colleges. Our women face a lot of problems as menstrual hygiene is stigmatized. Believing that it is imperative for everyone to realize how menstruation is natural and not a taboo, the best way to do this is by educating young minds who are the pillars of our society.
They conduct their programs in schools and colleges among young students, either by talking to an entire student body or some student representatives of the schools and colleges. Their dialogue helps to break the ice around the issue of menstruation and also introduces their social venture to the students. The main target being women and specially places which do not have pharmacies or shops nearby so that women need not waste valuable time in search of menstrual products. They have access to sanitary napkins instantly during an emergency at an extremely reasonable price.
Lastly they explain, “Our plan is to hopefully expand nationwide with our outreach program as well as our vending machines. We believe that this issue should be highly prioritized especially in a country like ours where menstruation is stigmatized and rarely discussed. We hope to ensure menstrual hygiene products become more accessible so that adolescent girls and women are not hindered in any way during their menstrual cycle.”