Alternatives to sanitary pads exercise
Problems concerning sanitary pads have become a big issue in today’s society. With manufacturing companies trying to win the competition through the use of more chemical ingredients, the respect for safety and women’s bodies has drastically decreased.
Sanitary pads manufacturing companies try to satisfy their buyers by emphasizing on their products’ comfort and lightweight. However, this forces companies to use more chemical components, which cause skin diseases and serious menstrual pains. For this reason, national feminist groups like Korea Women Link(한국여성민우회) and Blood Sister Regiment(피자매연대) have started to take actions from 2000(statistical data: Google) in order to save the planet from pollution of chemical sanitary pads and to prevent women’s bodies from the danger of toxic materials.
What is ‘Girl’s Dream’?
In Korea, there are not many organizations which promote the making of alternatives to sanitary pads. However, there are many small groups in public institutions like youth centers which make sanitary pads out of natural material. To learn the process of making pure cotton pads and to find out more about the sanitary pad problem, I personally visited a feminist activity group called ‘Girl’s Dream’. ‘Girl’s Dream’ is a group from Gangnam Youth Center which makes pure cotton pads for young girls suffering from poverty and war in the 3rd world countries.
Girls in poor countries fail to buy normal sanitary pads and they are in a terrible situation where AIDS is spreading vastly. Also, they cannot go to school and continue their daily routines during their menstrual cycle period. In order to solve this problem, members of ‘Girl’s Dream’ make pads of 100% natural cotton and donate them to girls in need.
The process of making the cotton sanitary pads is not complicated. There are two separate cotton sheets and members are required to sew them together and add buttons on each side. Making one sanitary pad can be done in less than 40 minutes. Each member makes two sanitary pads in every group meetings which are held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. A member of ‘Girl’s Dream’ mentioned that she felt rewarded to participate in a meaningful activity in an easy and enjoyable way.
Moreover, ‘Girl’s Dream’ contacts with other organizations to send the cotton pads with different materials like dolls, stationary, etc. ‘Girl’s Dream’ fills a box with the handmade cotton pads and makes sure that it is delivered to the poor villages. While cotton pads have no harm to the user, they also have no negative effects to the environment. Members of ‘Girl’s Dream’ try to lessen the harm of sanitary pad problems and the rate of pollution by making cotton pads with great care.
To hear more about ‘Girl’s Dream’ I had the chance to reach Yang, Jin Hwa, an assistant administrator of the Gangnam Youth Center.
How could you briefly explain ‘Girl’s Dream’?
Girl’s Dream(小女之夢) began with the purpose of giving hope to poor girls suffering from war and poverty. We are currently donating sanitary pads that we have made to the girls in Thailand, Burma and in Uganda. This year, we have sent 100 pads to our friends in Thailand and Burma and 350 pads to the orphan girls who are suffering from AIDS in Uganda. Last year, we donated sanitary pads with stationery materials and warmers that we collected from our youth center’s CLUB DAY festival.
How do people participate in this activity?
‘Girl’s Dream’ functions in a form of a regular club. On January and February, interviews are held for girls wishing to participate in “Girl’s Dream” for the whole year. By taking part in the interviews by themselves, girls feel responsible and the ones who are selected feel proud and participate actively.
What could be the purpose or meaning of ‘Girl’s Dream’?
‘Girl’s Dream’ was formed in 2008 when the news that women in Thailand and Burma were not able to attend schools because of the lack of sanitary pads was heard by the Seoul YWCA International Cooperation (Gangnam Youth Center’s operating business). The club was organized to help poor girls living on the other side of the world who couldn’t even satisfy their most fundamental needs. I personally think that this can be a true act of global leadership.
Could you explain the plans for the future of ‘Girl’s Dream’?
From now on, ‘Girl’s Dream’ is planning to continue its donations to women in Thailand and Burma, orphans in Cambodia and to orphan girls suffering from AIDS in Uganda. Also we aim to collect un-used stationery materials to donate with the sanitary pads. To add, ‘Girl’s Dream’ is planning a pen-pal activity between girls in Korea and Uganda. We wish to hear from anyone who is interested.
Recently, middle schools and high schools in the Seoul district have gotten involved in the cotton sanitary pad making programs. This made more citizens to grow interest in the sanitary pad problem and it caused more feminist groups to shout out for the ban of chemical ingredients in sanitary pads. Like ‘Girl’s Dream’, the contribution of national groups will save more women from danger.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN‘GIRL’S DREAM’
Gangnam Seoul Youth Center
ALTERNATIVES TO SANITARY PADS NATIONAL FEMINIST GROUPS
Korea Women Link(한국여성민우회) http://www.womenlink.or.kr/
Blood Sister Regiment(피자매연대) http://www.bloodsisters.or.kr/
ALTERNATIVES TO SANITARY PADS FOREIGN SITES
Canada- Lunapads www.lunapads.com (Available in Korea)