"I do not cry because I'm on my period or something … I can not believe that a menstrual movie won an Oscar."
So the Indian filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi garnered the Oscar for the documentary short for her film period. End of sentence The 26-minute film (which you can see on Netflix) aims to help end the stigma associated with menstruation and to raise awareness about the lack of access to sanitary products in rural areas and developing countries.
The story of period. End of the sentence.
The Oscar-winning film began as part of The Pad Project, an initiative initiated by members of the Girls Learn International Club of the Oakwood School in Los Angeles. The high school students decided to install a machine for the production of hygiene articles in the village of Hapur, India, and to document the effects on the local population. The machine would give local women and girls access to low-cost pads in a location they were in dire need of. The students funded their project through back sales, Kickstarter and Yoga-Thons, raised over $ 150,000 and eventually became an officially recognized nonprofit charity The Pad project.
The film follows the women in Hapur as they learn to make their products and distribute their own pads (which they brand as FLY pads) in their village. They are hired and trained to make the pads from scratch, and the finished product looks like a pad that you can buy in the US. Then they travel to the local villages to sell them (even demonstrating how they are used, as many other women in the area have never used pads before), and encourage women and shopkeepers to buy their products.
The 25-minute documentary offers all the power of a feature film and makes you feel like you not only have tampons, tampons and menstrual cups, but you can continue to live your life during your period – a luxury for women not offer in other regions of the world. (See also: THINX has just launched the first FDA-approved, reusable tampon applicator.)
Here's five important pieces of information about the inspiring documentation and how you can support the mission.
. 1 The lack of hygiene products is not only frustrating, but dangerous.
With no hygiene supplies available in many villages in India, women have decided on unhealthy alternatives such as dirty rags, leaves, or ashes, which increases their high risk of infection. Each time their period comes, the infection is called the pad project. (See also: Female inmates finally have access to free pads and tampons in federal prisons)
"We only find what we can do at home," explains Rekha, an Indian in the film. In the evenings, when no one's there, we'll throw them away and then Ruby and Jackie [their dogs] pick them up and take them with them, it's embarrassing. "  "The women realize they bleed, and they use every cloth they can lay on," explains Shabana, a local health consultant. "You can imagine how damaging and dangerous that can be – in the beginning we say in our meetings that the cloth should be washed and that it should not be dirty."
The good news: The pad project is changing that. "Now we're talking about pads," says Shabana. "But much still needs to be done." (See also: What you need to know about "period poverty")
2. Menstruation is referred to as the "biggest taboo".
Although the US has been in a # period pride movement for a few years now, much of the world's tales are associated with periods of shame and secrecy, according to The Pad Project. The film focuses on shame about menstruation and how this in turn suppresses women in the community. It starts with groups of women who are asked to talk about periods and menstruation. Many chuckle, do not respond or have their heads lowered. An elderly woman says menstruation is "something only God knows, it's the dirty blood that's released." Another woman says, "Babies are born, and that's all I know."
In the film, four young men are also asked about periods and menstruation: "Like a lesson when the school bell rings?" They say. Another replies, "I've heard that women are affected, and it's a disease."
"The daughter never speaks to the mother, the wife never talks to the husband, and friends do not talk to each other," says Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who invented the reasonably priced sanitary napkin production machine installed in the village of Hapur. "Menstruation is the biggest taboo in my country." (Related: Why #PeriodPride is an Essential Part of Positive Body Movement)
When the pad machine is brought to the village, many men say that it is for children to call them diapers, and it embarrasses them about it to talk about what they really are for
3. Even if hygiene items are available, women can not always buy and use them.
Less than 10 percent of women in India use so Muruganantham, sanitary products. His goal is to make 100 percent women talk about menstruation, which is why he invented the machine.
Even if the new pads are available, women may find it embarrassing or embarrassing to buy pads in stores. Even women selling door-to-door FLY pads (reaching as many women as possible) find that some women are too embarrassed to talk to them. The women also organize educational events in various villages, where women have the opportunity to buy cushions conveniently from other women.
"Girls have trouble buying them in stores because men are close to the woman selling these things, it gets easier for them," says Shabana. "It's just that way, I do not think we have to go from door to door to sell them for a very long time, and soon people will come to us."
And Every Machine and Accompanying Material According to The Pad Project, the installation costs $ 12,000 in each community. And after a year, the machine should become profitable and create a micro-economy for women in the region.
. 4 Menstruation hinders the education of women.
The film tells the story of a young woman who broke the school due to difficulties with her period.
"I studied to middle school But when I started getting periods, it became difficult," she said in the film. "The problem was that during the periods it was difficult to change the napkins … I had to walk quite far, it was extremely difficult, the cloth I used got wet quickly, which meant I changed it a lot which meant I had to go frequently, it got too annoying, then there were the young men and boys who looked at us, how should we change from them, I waited a year after the period started to get things over When things did not change, it was too difficult for me, that's why I fell out. "
" Our greatest hope is to involve as many people as possible so that no girl has to leave school because of her time again, " it says on the website of The Pad Project. They find that this also happens in low-income areas in the US and they also raise money to help women in the country. (Did you know that Scotland provides time products for students free of charge?)
5. Employment brings them respect and empowerment.
One woman helping to make the pads said, "I've earned respect in the eyes of my husband ever since I started earning there." Previously, I was lazy at home, feeling good "He respects me."
And another woman said, "My younger brother came to visit, I bought clothes for him, I bought him a suit, usually brothers who buy clothes for sisters, not a sister I bought clothes for her brother and I told him I could do it because I had earned some money. "
And for some women, it was the first paid job ever.
If you want to help women with help The Pad Project installs machines for making sanitary napkins around the world, visit The Pad Project. They offer three ways to get involved: spread awareness through social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ); Donate money for machinery, accessories and educators; or start your own initiative for the pad project.