Success story

British mother of three provides sanitary pads and a source of income for Syrian refugees

About one in four residents of Zaatari, the largest refugee camp in Jordan and host to more than a million Syrian refugees, need sanitary pads. Thanks to an Indian man’s invention and a British mother of three’s determination, they may be getting them. Amy Peake had seen pictures of refugees queuing for food and wondered how women in refugee camps dealt with their periods. After her husband showed her a program about Arunachalam Muruganantham, an Indian man who invented a machine to produce cheap and hygienic sanitary pads, having realized that his wife and millions of other Indian women used rags, Peake decided she needed to get involved. She visited the refugee camp at Zaatari, where she discovered that not only did women lack access to hygienic pads but incontinent children and the elderly were also in need. The cost of pads was prohibitively expensive, and hanging and cleaning soiled rags was shameful. Most, it seemed, were forced to make do reusing soiled materials. But Peake found business partners working with variants on Muruganantham’s machine, and has provided them to the camp. The camp manager, Hovig Etyemezian, has agreed to host a six-month pilot where refugee women producing the pads receive a salary. If things work out, the hope is the practice spreads. “Whenever there’s a success story it’s easy to replicate,” says Etyemezian. “The difficulty is to have a success story.”

Read the full story at The BBC.

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