Pads4Girls has taken many shapes over the years, from making and sending out Kits ourselves, to supporting padmaking workshops to inspiring full-blown businesses. The most recent iteration is called Transformation Textiles, where our role has been as relationship connectors and fundraisers.
If I were to go all the way back on this story, this would be a very long post indeed. Rachel Starkey is one of our all-time Pads4Girls supersheroes. A professional garment manufacturer by trade (I should add that she’s also a nurse, Mother of four and social change visionary into the bargain), she is also a longtime friend and colleague. She credits her original inspiration for making something useful out of waste to a blog post we wrote about Tsunamika dolls in 2007. What could she make out of the waste fabric from her factory, she wondered?
Another thing you need to know about Rachel is that her commitment to development is boundless: it wasn’t long before she hit on the idea of using her fabric waste (known as “offcuts”) to make washable pads for girls in developing nations to support their education – what she calls “Transformation Textiles” (or “TT”). Applying Transformation Textiles is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to feed two birds with one seed: make thousands of pads and panties while reducing waste.
So far, so awesome – on paper at least. It’s harder than you might think to find an appropriate recipient group to distribute thousands of kits, let alone figure out the logistics. Enter Anna Ebert. As many of you already know, Pads4Girls has been in operation for many years and we regularly receive donation requests of one variety or another on a regular basis: it’s not very often that someone asks for 50,000 kits (to give you a sense of perspective, this is more pads than we make in a year!): we immediately thought of Rachel.
Now, I have to confess that at first I didn’t know what to make of Anna: a massive request, no website, based in a small town in Southern Ontario – who was this person, again? Turns out that she’s been too busy working for change in Malawi to trouble herself with building websites and the like: this lady is a doer par excellence.
Anna emailed us, we connected her with Rachel, and that brings me pretty much to where we are today: organizing the first shipment of 10,000 Transformation Textiles Kits to Malawi for distribution starting in July 2012. One of the other beautiful things about TT is that it’s inexpensive: in this case it’s going to cost $5 to make and ship each kit from Egypt to Malawi – unreal!
Want to help? Got $5? Seriously: Pads4Girls has committed $1,000 towards the $50,000 that it is going to cost for a container of 10,000 kits. See what you can spare and donate here!