My name is Madhvi Dalal and I am a pharmacist, yoga instructor, dancer and choreographer as well as being CEO of PadMad.
I was born in Kenya and together with my Welsh husband owned a retail and wholesale pharmaceutical business in Wales, where I was also a pharmacist.
After selling the pharmacy business, we made the decision to move somewhere where we would be able to help people at grassroots level, and settled on Kenya.
During regular trips to the slums where I taught yoga and dance, I came face to face with the period-pad-problem which is where the idea for PadMad began.
The girls would timidly explain their absenteeism and embarrassment of leakage during class time, often sharing their inability to participate in sports or other activities simply because of the lack of sanitary ware.
They used mattresses, old (often dirty) cloth, newspapers and other equally unsanitary solutions which would lead to infections and skin rashes. Mattresses would even stick to the skin in the sensitive areas causing the girls great discomfort.
When we looked into the issue, we found:
- 65% of females in Kenya cannot afford sanitary pads.
- On average, girls in Kenya are absent for 4.9 days a month from school.
- 1 in 10 fifteen years old girl resort to prostitution.
- Disposable pads take 500-800 years to breakdown in a landfill.
- Disposable pads have chemicals which can lead to skin irritations, cramps and other health issues.
Our solution is PadMad which is succeeding in keeping girls in education, because they can reuse the pads and feel comfortable enough to come to school without leaks and shame. To date, our programme has benefited thousands of girls across Kenya by keeping them in school.
PadMad is a voluntary organisation that manufactures and distributes reusable sanitary towels as well as educating young girls and boys in menstrual hygiene management in schools within parts of Kenya.
Mission: To keep as many girls in education and away from prostitution as possible; and to uplift lives.
Vision: To Educate, Enable and Empower women on hygiene, Menstrual Health Management (MHM), circular economy and environmental responsibility.
Focus: Making an impact on Women’s Health, Infection Control, Education, Water and Sanitation, Economical and the Environmental sectors.
We are encouraging gender equality by raising awareness through our inclusive programmes which help boys understand about women’s health and also helps communities to support equal opportunities.
Additionally, we educate boys and girls on Menstrual Health Management (MHM) and our reusable sanitary pads are helping to reduce the number of teenagers turning to prostitution.
Our products are eco-friendly and can biodegrade within six months, which is quicker than an orange peel.
Made from natural products, our products are free of toxic chemicals, which reduces the risk of cramps, infections and skin irritations.
The reusable sanitary pads are significantly more affordable, costing about 12 times less than disposable products over their five-year lifetime.
We have also partnered with Water Solutions company to be able to reach areas with clean water issues and have been supported by UK charity Bubbles and Stars.
We run free workshops in schools for boys and girls to educate them on MHM (menstrual health management) and work on making a pad from beginning to end.
In the slums, we train and mentor women to make good quality pads which are then purchased by PadMad. Women in rural areas are educated, trained, mentored, empowered and supported to form cooperatives or Saccos for their pad business. This programme includes in depth MHM education, training of making the pads of good quality, advising on various areas including business skills and microfinance.
How we compare to other products
We use 100% natural material which does not cause irritation of the skin like fleece, PUL or other synthetic materials do and the cotton we use is much easier to clean and therefore reuse hygienically.
Our quality of cloth is of higher standard and is therefore reusable at least 5 years as opposed to 1-2 years.
An aesthetically pleasing helps deal with the stigma attached to carrying and using the pads and we include a reusable bag for carrying soiled pads making it possible for the girl to change her pads in school and therefore stay in class.
These pads are made in Kenya using Kenyan raw material and are therefore supporting many livelihoods in places like Kibera and Kariobangi, to name a few.
They are more cost effective than disposable pads in the long run.
We provide essential education with regards to Menstrual Health Management (MHM), good hygiene, significance of landfill issues with regards to disposable pads and tampons and also on cost effectiveness.
What makes us proud of what we do
- We have won two awards for our initiative.
- We are an impact social enterprise which is empowering women.
- We are using Kenyan products and working in Kenya.
- Our outreach programs have been received extremely positively.
For more information and to offer your support, please email PadMad.