Although there are plenty of reusable products in the wild, including fabric sanitary napkins or silicone cups, context is key, according to Sierra.
“Many reusable menstrual products are difficult to clean, which is exacerbated when access to water is limited,” she writes on her website. “Long drying times result in mildew and bacterial growth; and leaks and staining on clothes are common due to lack of waterproofing.”
BeGirl’s panties and pads need washing, as well, but they can get by with less water because of the high-performance, stain-resistant fabrics they employ. The quick-drying nylon also allows them to be dried indoors—a key consideration since many girls are unable or unwilling to dry period-related items in the open.
There are a couple of ways you can help. You can fill BeGirl’s coffers by purchasing its products for yourself or you can buy them for a girl involved in one of its pilot programs, such as the one launching in Ethiopia next year.
A $12 sponsorship, Sierra says, provides a girl with two of the panties, enough to support her stay in school for two years.
“This is not rocket science,” Sierra says. “Yet, with a pad we can propel a generational change and level the playing field for girls while taking care of the environment.”