Two years ago I had the privilege to live and work in Northeast India. Every day, I traveled to remote villages and sat with women and girls and listened to their stories. I’ve already shared how one woman named Naisban created change for literacy, water and sanitation in her community. As I sat with women and girls, I learned a lot about the health and water-related illnesses that effect their every day lives.
Women and girls shared that during menstruation they are unable to participate in normal routines and activities.
Girls are kept from school due to lack of proper sanitation and hygienic facilities. In fact, in most rural areas girls use old cloths, bark or dirty rags during their periods. These methods can cause serious health related issues for both girls and women. Being unable to afford sanitary pads, girls will stay home from school during their period and quickly fall behind in their studies. In India, 12% of girls have access to sanitary pads and 56% have a poor understanding of menstrual health and hygiene. When girls reach puberty, 23% of them will drop out of school completely.
This is a major health and personal crisis for girls.
Upon returning to the United States, I began to think about my own menstrual health. I read articles about the harmful chemicals used to make feminine hygiene products. Toxic shock syndrome, harmful chemical exposure, fertility issues all can be linked to chemicals used in feminine products purchased by most Western women.
The average Western woman uses 11,000-16,000 menstrual management products throughout her lifetime. This equates to ten years of exposure to harmful chemicals. Armed with this knowledge, I knew I had to make a change. I began to think about investing in my own menstrual health and researching the availability of organic feminine products.
Then I discovered Cora Women.
Cora Women is a company with an unwavering commitment to girls who are disempowered and stigmatized during their periods. When you join the Month for Month giving circle, Cora Women provides a month’s supply of sustainable, locally made sanitary pads on your behalf to a girl in the developing world. Cora Women works with local partners to implement this project.
When you join the circle, Cora Women sends you a box of your pre-selected choice of organic tampons, liners and pads. Because periods come at all times during the month, your box is guaranteed to arrive on the very first day of the month. If that is not amazing enough, Cora Women includes chocolate, tea and special products to help you through your period. This month, my box included a special feminine wash for clothes and undergarments. Currently, Cora Women only ships to women who live in the United States.
I am joining the movement.
I love knowing that I can improve my own health while contributing to the sustainable health and education of another girl in India. I no longer have to worry about harmful chemicals polluting my body. However, I also know that I am helping a young girl receive the vital education she needs. This is a win, win situation! I am saying goodbye to harmful chemicals and hello to an organic solution that empowers girls around the world!