Sheva is a start-up that sells feminine hygiene products for a good cause.
As a result of menstruation, 800 million girls around the world miss one week of school every month. This is because, in some developing countries, periods represent inequality and many girls don’t have access to basic sanitary products, leaving them feeling uncomfortable, insecure and embarrassed.
According to a 2012 WaterAid survey, 48% of girls in Iran and 10% of girls in India thought menstruation was a disease, and UNICEF found that 66% of girls in South Asia didn’t know a single about menstruation before their first period.
In other cultures, such as parts of Nepal, women are banished from their communties when it’s their time of the month, because it’s considered dirty and impure.
All this leaves girls feeling isolated, more likely to drop out of school and get pregnant at a young age. This is where Sheva steps in.
Sheva is a start-up selling feminine hygiene products for a good cause. Available only in the US at the moment, but with plans to expand globally, Sheva is an online store which sells tampons, sanitary towels, condoms and pregnancy tests. With every purchase, the company gives a month’s supply of sanitary pads to a girl in need, and works to educate her about her body and her rights.
And Sheva doesn’t stop there. It also partners with various NGOs, such as anti-poverty organization Asopuente and Congregación Marta y Maria, a girls’ home in Jalapa, to set up education programs which teach the basics about periods, personal hygiene, self-esteem and what it means to be a woman.
The company is also trying to set up a system whereby girls are taught to produce their own sanitary pads, using biodegradable, local materials like banana fibers.
The aim is to help women and girls in developing countries be self-sufficient and understand that having a period is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Watch the inspiring video below to see the empowering work of Sheva in action.