I recently learnt about an amazing lady, Freeda Thong, a Brisbane based social entrepreneur passionate about women, the environment and equality. Freeda recently ran a crowd funding campaign to raise $15,000 for her new, innovative, environmentally and socially impactful product – Ecopads. A product that Freeda says gets mixed reactions of confusion, disgust, surprise, acceptance and admiration all at the same time!
Ecopads Australia is a social enterprise making perfectly imperfect, reusable menstrual cloth pads. For each Ecopad sold, Freeda sends one to a girl or woman in a developing country. In addition to this, Freeda is working with development organisations to provide educational workshops surrounding sex education and health hygiene.
“A one-for-one model makes it possible to not only tackle environmental issues close to home, but also reach out to help girls have access to sanitation in developing countries.” Freeda says. Disposable pads are the 3rd largest contributor to landfill, so Ecopads provide women with the opportunity to make an environmentally conscious decision to manage their periods. Watch Freeda’s fun clip outlining her product here.
You don’t have to live in Australia to buy or support the Ecopad movement. Freeda has a growing market selling to overseas customers including Vanuatu, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Freeda would love for you to join her on a journey to creating access to sanitation in developing countries by making cloth pads accessible to everyone, both here and abroad.
Freeda believes that this small behavioural change can make a large impact on the environment and culture around menstruation. Period shaming is a confronting and pressing issue in developing countries, where women are shunned within the community. This is often a reason for girls to drop out of school when beginning their cycles.
Freeda’s product has clear impact helping the environment, education and empowerment:
Environment: Disposables take up to 800 years to decompose. With each woman experiencing an average of 520 menstrual cycles, the numbers really add up quickly!
Education: 1 in 5 girls leave school in India, due to menstruation and lack of awareness around it.
Empowerment: Provide job prospects to women on the ground in India. Photographed here are women employed by Eco Femme, in Auroville, India.
OR send Freeda an email to tell her how awesome she is firstname.lastname@example.org