Papilio Reusable Menstrual pad is a very comfortable but money-saving product, made from high quality fabric.
In many African communities, up to 60% of girls are struggling to stay in school due to period poverty.
To address this issue of period poverty and other menstrual hygiene challenges faced by young African girls and women around the continent, PAPILIO, a reusable menstrual pad brand which was launched first in the Southwest Region of Cameroon and has extended to three other African counties in the past four years: Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Uganda.
To understand the unique challenges faced by schoolgirls in relation to their menstruation, RINOO in partnership with ROYALTY WORLD, came up with the RESTORE HER DIGNITY CAMPAIGN that has been able to reach close to 15.000 adolescent girls with menstrual health education.
Through our visits to schools, seminars and many outreaches, we realized that one of the major issues surrounding menstruation is that it remains a taboo subject in our communities.
Most girls, even those from middle class families don’t have constant access to menstrual pads. Either they are shy to ask or the money is simply no enough.
More than 70% of the girls we walked to have never used a sanitary pad. They depend on toilet tissue, rags, old newspapers and even grass. Because of this, the chances of them staining their uniforms and clothes are very high, given also the absence of female-friendly toilets in school and public places. For this reason, they skip school because it is easier to handle these challenges at home, out of the unfriendly public scrutiny.
For girls who are familiar with disposable sanitary pads, they can’t afford them on a monthly basis and so most of them engage in transactional sex for the purpose of getting money to buy menstrual pads, with the inherent risk of getting pregnant.
To provide these girls with affordable and permanent alternatives, RINOO will provide these girls with reusable pads they can depend on to have their periods in dignity.
Beyond the education, we have opened a tailoring workshop that currently employs over 20 permanent and 30 part-time workers (mainly single mothers) dedicated to the production of menstrual sanitary pads. So far, we have produced over 60.000 Papilio menstrual pads (August 2021). The pads produced from cotton, technical waterproof fabric and absorbent microfiber ensure that users stay healthy, dry and comfortable during their period.
The single mothers, producing these pads, earn a decent wage, have paid leave and a social security. Papilio is therefore not only providing a solution to period poverty, but also employing vulnerable women who otherwise might end on streets in order to survive.
To us, Papilio is not just a product, it is a bridge where the conversation that will end the menstruation taboo starts. Menstruation is not a curse, It is where life actually starts.
Research and Development of the pads by Hanne Decloedt, Gent - Belgium. (padpower.org)
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RINOO is investing in sensitization young GIRLS and BOYS in (menstrual) Hygiene, sexuality and relationships.
RINOO is cooperating with PLAN INTERNATIONAL to train young girls in pads sewing, entrepreneurship skills
Our local partner, ROYALTYWORLD, has set up an extensive scholarship program.
The program is supported by the income from PAPILIO sanitary pad production.
Additionally, RINOO directly supported the university studies of the four oldest children Honorine, manageress of our grocery.
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RINOO Sierra Leone
Mariatu started her menstrual hygiene project during university when she noticed that adolescent girls have little or no knowledge about menstruation.
She is so passionate in this cause and, at the age of 27, she wants to lead the period movement in Sierra Leone.
However she is very young, she yet has realized a wide range of actions with her associotion:
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