Confidence enables us to live abundantly and happily, but so many females are denied this opportunity simply because they lack the means and knowledge for sexual reproductive health and menstrual hygiene.

icare-def

Confidence enables us to live abundantly and happily, but so many females are denied this opportunity simply because they lack the means and knowledge for sexual reproductive health and menstrual hygiene.

icare-def

“Treating women as second-class citizens is a bad tradition: it holds you back. There’s no excuse for sexual assault or domestic violence, there’s no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation, there’s no place in a civilised society for the early or forced marriage of children. These traditions may go back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century.”

obama

Growing up with self-confidence

Many girls in Kenya skip school when they get their period, with an average of five days each month, sixty days a year, for the simple reason that they can’t afford to buy the kind of sanitary pads we have here. A lot of them drop out as a result, because they can’t keep up with the pace anymore. In a country where women are already at a disadvantage, and where those who have the chance are glad to be able to go to school in the first place, this is a hidden but very real problem. The sanitary measures girls take, such as using towels, tissues, sand or leaves as protection, tend to leak, resulting in shame. They are ashamed because of something that is an integral part of being a woman! The I-Care Foundation supports girls in collaboration with local partners. Our goals are to give girls a chance to go to school and to grow up with self-confidence.

The origin of I-Care

In 2006, returning after my first visit to Kenya, I founded the Afri-Can Foundation. Since then, I have visited many projects and schools there. One of the things I noticed was that there were a lot of girls attending the lower grades but that the proportion of female students seemed to have significantly declined in the higher grades. Upon inquiring, I learned that many girls do not attend school when they are menstruating. Because they miss out on so many lessons, this can lead to them leaving school prematurely. The disposable sanitary pads that we use are available in Kenya, but these girls cannot afford them.
I was shocked after hearing this. The very thought of growing into womanhood in shame devastated me. There is a lot of talk about women’s empowerment, but how can you empower women and girls when this taboo persists and they are unable to buy sanitary pads, simply because they are too expensive or even unavailable?

We wanted to do something and found an affordable and sustainable solution. We went to the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) in Kisumu (West Kenya). They researched the possibilities for the manufacture of washable sanitary pads. This led to the development of a number of prototypes which have been tested in schools across West Kenya. The feedback and results have shaped the final product. In 2011, we trained and employed women in and around Kisumu who produce the pads, called I-Care pads, in a professional production unit.

I-Care pads are not simply cheaper and therefore more easily attainable for the girls, there is a lot more to it:

  • Our company creates employment opportunities for women so they can provide for themselves and have a brighter future.
  • Better hygiene improves the health of the girls.
  • I-Care breaks taboos surrounding sexuality and menstruation.
  • The pads are durable and environmentally friendly since it is not a disposable product.

The pads are high quality. One pack of I-Care pads offers many advantages, including:

  • 2 - 3 pads for heavy flow.
  • 2 - 3 pads for light flow.
  • Washing instructions.
  • Airtight bag for the used pads.
  • Ten tips for menstruating girls.

Advantages:

  • I-Care pads can be used for at least one year.
  • The pads are 100% cotton.
  • The pads are made in Kenya.

I-Care pads are not simply cheaper and therefore more easily attainable for the girls, there is a lot more to it:

  • Our company creates employment opportunities for women so they can provide for themselves and have a brighter future.
  • Better hygiene improves the health of the girls.
  • I-Care breaks taboos surrounding sexuality and menstruation.
  • The pads are durable and environmentally friendly since it is not a disposable product.

The pads are high quality. One pack of I-Care pads offers many advantages, including:

  • 2 - 3 pads for heavy flow.
  • 2 - 3 pads for light flow.
  • Washing instructions.
  • Airtight bag for the used pads.
  • Ten tips for menstruating girls.

Advantages:

  • I-Care pads can be used for at least one year.
  • The pads are 100% cotton.
  • The pads are made in Kenya.

By the end of 2015, we have sadly been forced to dismantle the activities of the social enterprise. However, the I-Care Foundation remains active in supporting girls in coalition with our local partners. Our goals are to give girls the opportunity to go to school and to grow up with self-confidence.

Recognition

1. Nominated for Global Accelerator by United Nations (June 2014)
2. Red Hot Women Award – Category Society by Red Magazine in December 2013
3. Cordaid Private Initiative Award – November 2013 – won 10.000 euro
4. Nominated ‘Inspirator 2013’ by ‘Women and Passion’ a Dutch Community and (former) Magazine – January 2013
5. Best Innovative Service Runners Up Award for I-Care Pads
by Department of Micro and Small Enterprise Development in Kenya – June 2012

Mission I-Care

To provide sanitary pads and training that inspire confidence and equip vulnerable girls and women to live freely and take charge of their lives.

Donate

E-mailadres*

Bedrag €*


Contact

Are you in search of a guest speaker? Or do wish to order an impressive number of books for your company, including a personalized preface? Send an email to: chantal.heutink@lifeonhighheels.com

or call: +31 (0)6 16 78 44 88

Chantal strives to answer your e-mail personally within 48 hours, but it is possible that she is on the road and that is why it takes a bit longer.

 

Would you like to receive information about I-Care or support our activities in any way?
Please send an email to info@icarepads.com