Madeleine’s note: Jeeti is one of our Vancouver sister entrepreneurs, whose company, To Desire, creates incredible shawls and wraps made of luxurious fabric that are basically wearable art pieces. She is also passionately devoted to girls’ and women’s freedom from violence. Getting to know her and her business has been an honour!
Jeeti’s story: When I first heard of Lunapads I was immediately reminded of a story when my mother was a teenager. I had the honour of meeting with the Madeleine and could not resist sharing my mother’s tale of how women in India dealt with their period back in the day.
My mother was born in northern India in 1946. When she got her first period, my mother’s older sister ripped off a piece of cloth from a cotton duvet cover and gave it to my mother to use as a pad. From that day onward my mother would cut out a rectangular piece from the old duvet cover, fold it over a few times and placed it in her underwear as a sanitary pad. Once that piece soiled she would cut out a new one. The soiled cloth would be discarded and buried in the dump outside of her house; making sure it was well hidden so the men and children wouldn’t see it. After she got married things became a little difficult. There was no outside dump nearby. She had to keep all of the soiled cloth pieces hidden inside the house and dispose of them in the fields when it was dark.
The length of these sanitary cloth pieces was similar to modern day pads. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) on the other hand, used to wear her sanitary cloth pieces longer so she could tuck the front and back end of the cloth into the drawstring of her sulwaar (pants). Every single piece of old worn out cotton clothing including duvet covers, pillow cases, men’s pajamas, women’s blouses and scarves were valuable to menstruating women and were never thrown away. They were tucked away safe for later menstrual use. It may be hard to believe but there are many women in developing countries that currently use same or similar methods as my mother had, to deal with their periods.
I left my meeting with Madeleine feeling inspired and full of joy knowing there are genuine women entrepreneurs who are changing lives of women like my mother. Lunapads makes it their social responsibility to provide menstrual pads to women across the globe through its Pads4Girls program so girls can go to school and women can go to work during their period. Thank you Lunapads for empowering women globally!