Empowering Women via Sanitary Protection Kits & Embroidered Cards!

The Need

There are multiple needs being addressed with this program.

  • Being deaf/hearing-impaired as an adult woman in Nepali society is terribly isolating. To address this issue, TRIFC formed the ‘Deaf Women’s Empowerment Group’ (DWEG) to create community, make new friends, learn new skills and do meaningful work.
  • There is a very negative societal stigma about menstruation, so there is a need for a culturally-appropriate solution that will be acceptable as well as easy to use and wash.
  • If you are a girl student with disability, access to sanitary pads is limited and too expensive for the average student to manage. This can literally keep girls home from school unless there is a solution.
  • Women victims of the 2015 earthquake need access to sanitary pads that are easy to use, long-lasting and are culturally appropriate.

The Project

  • TRIFC provides training in greeting card embroidery and sewing. TRIFC sells the beautiful embroidered cards at our functions in the USA and also on the ETSY.com handmade products website.
  • Our DWEG are sewing reusable sanitary protection kits for use by girls with disabilities and we are distributing them along with training on how to use them. We also provide additional information on personal hygiene with these kits.
  • The reusable sanitary protection kits are being distributed to victims of the devastating earthquake in 2015. This is being done in conjunction with Rotary rebuilding efforts in Nepal. Usage training, hygiene information and follow-up on whether the kits are being properly utilized are also part of the program.

The Exciting Opportunity

The women participating in our ‘Deaf Women’s Empowerment Group’ (DWEG) are doing meaningful work… creating community, friendships and impact for girls with disabilities and for women affected by the earthquake in Nepal. We’re keeping girls with disabilities in school with our sanitary protection kits and helping victims of the earthquake by providing these kits to those in need in partnership with Nepal Rotary District 3292.


Sanitary Protection Keeps Girls in School

In 2012, TRIFC Board Member, Rose Stevens gave training to our Deaf Women’s Empowerment Group (DWEG) in sewing and assembling sanitary protection kits. We have now completed two trials with approximately 75 school-aged girls with disability. Overall, feedback has been positive, though we will need to make the pads more tactile for students with blindness.

Without a proper sanitary pad solution, this sensitive issue can keep girls home from school for a week each month, or they may find it too difficult to manage and abandon school altogether. We have modified the kit and made adjustments based on the feedback from our trial groups.

While it may seem like a simple solution to purchase sanitary pads at the local store, in many cases that is not possible, plus it can be too costly to manage for many students (or TRIFC). In addition, in most cases there is no garbage pick-up available so the discarded pads are a huge sanitation problem.

The kits we are making contain two panty liners with a moisture barrier sewn-in and twelve washable pads made with colorful flannel fabric (when hung out to dry after washing, they don’t ‘look’ like a sanitary pad), soap and zip lock bags to wash them in (requiring minimal water to wash) and picture instructions. The cost of the finished product is $7-$8.

We are planning to start another ‘DWEG’ in another part of Nepal. We hope to have our original team of deaf/hearing-impaired women train the other group adding to the empowerment aspect of the program!

In this, rather unique program, there is social and economic benefit on both the producer side as well as the user/beneficiary side.

Embroidered Cards & Empowered Women with Deafness/Hearing-Impairment!

TRIFC Director, Rose Stevens and her good friend Sandie Olsen designed a wonderful greeting card embroidery program that we took to Nepal and introduced to an inspiring group of deaf women. Our ‘Deaf Women’s Empowerment Group’ (DWEG) group of 15 women engaged in two weeks of training and even had a proper graduation ceremony. At graduation, one of the women announced to the group, “I never thought I could learn anything, but now I found out that I can!” We hope to help these women support themselves and their families with the sale of these beautifully embroidered greeting cards. We also intend to give more life-skills training as we go forward with the program.

Project contact: TRIFC Director – Rose Stevens / Email: rose@trifc.org