Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let's Talk About It!

Great Article!  May 28th is the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day!  Read all about it here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jessie J "Price Tag" lip dub by 500 Ugandan Women

This is the bomb!!!!  We all want the same things!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This guy is amazing!! Now if only every girl in India would also have the proper menstruation education to go along with these pads! Grow.Learn.Give. can help with that!

Menstruation Man!

Arunachalam Muruganantham had his light bulb moment when he was 29 years old, and holding a sanitary napkin for the first time.
Examining the cotton pads he was buying as a gift for his new wife, the Indian entrepreneur realized that the multinational company that produced them was probably spending cents on raw materials, and making a huge profit.
Women in Muruganantham's village in Tamil Nadu, including his wife, would often forgo these expensive pads for rags they used repeatedly through their cycles. Even more uncomfortably, sometimes they utilized husks or leaves during menstruation.
The exorbitant cost of the foreign-made pads cut into their families' meal budget. Given a choice between fresh pads and fresh milk, they chose the latter.
A new movie, Menstrual Man, documents how, at great personal cost, Muruganantham created a cheap machine to address persistent menstrual hygiene challenges for rural women on the subcontinent. But, as director Amit Virmani points out, the product's traction may have more to do with social entrepreneurship than with health concerns.
Women whose self-help groups buy Muruganantham's machine can make more than a dollar a day — close to a global poverty line — selling the pads.
Sanitary napkins from global companies are in Indian stores for about $1.50 for an eight-pack. The ones from Murugantham's machine wholesale at about 25 cents for an eight-pack; the women's groups can sell them at whatever retail price they choose, retaining the profit. The cost of the machines ranges from about $1,200 to $6,000, depending on the features.
"The primary impulse when people are struggling to make a living is either, 'How can I make more money?' or 'How can I save more money?' " Virmani said. "If you address those needs, your innovation stands a better chance to be adopted, to spread."
The machine, which Muruganantham began to research in 1998, has three stages of production. Inside a stainless steel container, a motor fluffs cellulose to prepare it as the core material for the napkins. Hand- and leg-operated tools are used to form the core of the napkin. A heat press is used to seal and apply the outer cover to the napkin. It's sterilized and packaged, and then ready to sell.
Muruganantham's invention was already spreading across India when Virmani found him last year, with 500 machines sold and an innovation award from India's president under the entrepreneur's belt. But getting there had been all uphill.
Once Muruganantham had prototyped the machine, he needed testers. But his wife and other family members refused, as did girls at the nearby medical college. So Muru, as Virmani calls him, decided to become a tester himself.
He filled bottles with animal blood and attached tubes that would press the blood into his drawers as he biked and walked around town. His rural village shunned him, viewing this with suspicion. And his wife's suspicions — that he was chasing medical college girls around town for something other than product testing — ended his marriage.
Still, for six years, Muruganantham pressed on (yup, pressed) — and now more than 1,000 of his machines have been sold in India. There's also been global interest in replicating the model, from Afghanistan to Rwanda.
Virmani said he attributes Muruganantham's success to the inventor's understanding of his core audience, starting with the rudimentary nature of the machine. "It's wooden, and it's got pedals where he could have had motors," Virmani said.
"He knows how to motorize the damn things, but the more complicated you make the machines, at some point they'll break down," Virmani said. "The way he's engineered it, it's pretty much something that [the rural women] can repair themselves, and they don't have to keep paying for servicing."
Muruganantham says he wants to see India become a "100 percent sanitary napkin country" in his lifetime.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Will the Cleric from Saudi Arabia "YIELD" to Women's Rights?

The fight for women's rights continues around the globe. Recently, Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan, a Saudi cleric, made this statement:
“If a woman drives a car, it could have a negative physiological impact ... Medical studies show that it would automatically affect a woman's ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward … We find that for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with varying degrees of clinical problems.” 
His comments were made in response to an online campaign, in Saudi Arabia, urging women to demonstrate for the right to drive. While we may smile or laugh at this comment, the underlying message of it is disconcerting and illustrates the ignorance of women’s health in areas of the world. This lack of knowledge or denial prevents women from having equal rights and opportunities, such as working, traveling, opening back accounts, driving a car, or more importantly going to school without receiving permission from their male guardian. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sukrupa School: Creating Ripples in India

Monica Bradley, volunteered in Bangalore, India for two years teaching underprivileged children at Sukrupa School. Currently she resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her husband and son.  Below she shares her rewarding experience.

    Daniel, Priya, Rajkumar

Four years ago, I lived in Bangalore, India on assignment for my husband’s work. While there, I spent two years volunteering at Sukrupa School. I taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th standard students. After my first day of teaching, I went home and cried. It was overwhelming to me being among such poverty and I was unsure if I could return. But, I couldn’t forget the smiles on the children’s faces that I had met. They were so happy and loving to me despite their circumstances. I returned to the school with a profound desire to not only increase their knowledge, but also to shower them with unconditional love. Yet, they taught me so much more! Volunteering at the school was a very humbling, rewarding, life-changing experience for me.
In 1971, Suguna invited a handful of underprivileged children into her home and taught them basic subjects while their parents worked. A decade later she was teaching 150 children.  Her daughter and son, Krupa and Sathya, saw the wonderful work their mother was doing with these children. Years later, while both of them were successful in their own careers, Krupa returned to India in 2002 and founded Sukrupa School. Later, Sathya joined as director. Krupa desired for underprivileged children to have an opportunity to escape a background of poverty and illiteracy and have a chance to succeed in life. Today, over 400 children attend the school.
In India, the people are assigned their caste (social class) at birth based on their parent’s caste. For the millions born in the slums,  there is little opportunity to escape.  In the slum located near the school, parents earn about $1.00 a day. The majority of parents do not want their children to attend school, so they can help earn money for their family. They do not understand how valuable an education is for their child. It is especially challenging to retain girl students whom are often married at a young age. Not educating a girl has far reaching consequences for her and the generations to follow. Educating girls reduces poverty, increases self-confidence, and empowers the home. 

Below are a couple of responses from some of the students I taught:
“I left home when I was young to earn money for my family. Shortly after that, I met Krupa who invited me to come to school and be one of her foster children. I am so grateful for Sukrupa School. I’m one of the lucky ones because I was rescued from the streets and not sold into marriage as a child. Now I can make something of my life.  I can make candles, clothes, and handbags to sell. My dream is to open a store of my own.”                                                                      ~ Sony, residential child.
“While visiting my uncle in my home village, he discouraged me from returning to school. He said school was not important. I was confused and it was hard for me. But I know that I must study so I can be an Engineer someday. I am one of the lucky ones. Not every child can get an education.” (5 years ago).                         ~ Rajkumar, residential child attending St. Joseph’s Pre-University                      College, Bangalore.
The school has become a refuge for the students and they are thankful that they can go to school!  So grateful, that even when the children are out of school for a couple of weeks due to religious holidays, they still come. While I volunteered at the school, it was my privilege to witness how grateful the children are for the little things in life. The things that majority of us Westerners take for granted.

For instance, one day a box of 400 pairs of used shoes was donated to the school. The children rummaged through the box finding a pair in their size. When they found a pair that fit, they were so excited! They ran and jumped trying out their ‘new’ shoes. It did not matter to them what color or brand the shoe was.

Another time, a box of mechanical pencils was donated to the school from a friend of mine in the United States.  While I was tutoring some children, a couple of older girls happily came into the room holding their new pencils and thanked me for them.

Another time at the school, a box of toothbrushes and toothpastes were donated from a friend of mine in the United States. I watched the children excitedly choose a toothbrush. “Thank you Aunty!” They all said cheerfully. They were so happy to have their own toothbrush. It was my privilege to teach them how to brush their teeth for the first time.

I was also greatly impacted when one of my 1st standard students, Archana, was given her very first doll from a friend of mine who was sponsoring her. When I handed it to her, she stared at it and then looked up at me with her beautiful big brown eyes and asked, “is it really for me Aunty?” Tears of gratitude swelled in her eyes while she embraced it.

One experience that I will never forget was on Christmas Day in 2008. I arrived at the school and following a wonderful Christmas production of Journey to Bethlehem, I gathered my students together and we sang Christmas songs. Before I could give them each a small gift, they had formed a line and took turns handing me random trinkets they had brought with them from home. “Merry Christmas Aunty!” Tears came to my eyes as I thought about the generosity of these dear children.

Every child deserves the right and privilege of an education, despite their social class. With an education they are empowered to achieve their full potential. Mother Teresa wisely once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”