This International Women’s Day, buy a reusable menstrual kit for the Maasai women artisans of Sidai Designs, and the women and girls of their villages.
Who we are
Sidai means beautiful in Maa (the language of the Maasai tribe). Sidai Designs collaborates with Maasai women to design and create beautiful beaded jewelry and homewares, steeped in Maasai tradition but with a modern sensibility. We believe that through providing Maasai women with fair and sustainable income, they can be equipped with the resources to design a beautiful future for their families and community.
We love to support the Maasai community through educational programs, social programs, and fundraising when needed. In 2020, we raised enough money to feed more than 700 Maasai people for a month during the pandemic. We realised the power of our community was strong, thus we are calling on you again now.
Why buy a menstrual kit for a Maasai woman?
Around the world, menstruation health is a serious issue that affects women in vulnerable communities, yet it is often an experience that is hidden under taboos, patriarchy and shame.
When Maasai girls and women menstruate, they very rarely have access to feminine hygiene products.
In most cases, the reasons for this are:
- Physical access to supermarkets from isolated villages.
- Cost of pads (they are considered a luxury in the patriarchal Maasai society)
- The topic of menstruation is taboo.
- Maasai women do not have income independent of their husbands and if they do have any money, they will more likely use it on food.
- Maasai women often do not own underwear to apply pads to.
So what does a Maasai woman do during her menses?
If a woman owns underwear, she might stuff it with leaves or an extra cloth. If she does not own underwear, which is more common, she simply has no way to manage her period at all.
Maasai women say that this is a very big issue for them. Traveling around becomes uncomfortable as they struggle to keep clean, and as a result girls tend to not go to school whilst menstruating or drop out of school altogether.
For less than £10 per menstrual kit, you can empower Maasai girls and women to participate in society, to access education, and to feel more confident and happy.
As stated by UNFPA, a step towards menstrual health is ‘an important step towards safeguarding the dignity, bodily integrity and overall life opportunities of women and girls’.
Within each kit there is:
2 x pairs of underwear
2 x holders for pads that clip onto underwear
7 x washable flannel liners
The Makers of the Menstrual Kits
Set up and developed by Stephanie Fuchs, this enterprise is now a Maasai-lead, sustainable sewing enterprise that produces and sells reusable menstrual kits in the Masai Steppe of Tanzania. Maasai women are empowered through training and education on making the kits, and through the economic opportunity the project provides for them.
We are proud to support the creation of economic opportunities for Maasai women, the promotion of gender equality, and efforts towards a sustainable future for the Maasai community, whilst enabling the Maasai mamas of Sidai Designs to be more comfortable during their monthly cycle.
Watch here at 17mins 51seconds to see Stephanie describing the project and the need.
German-born Stephanie Fuchs, a Biogolist and Conservationist, has been a resident of the village of Lesoit, Kiteto, Tanzania for the last 10 years. She uses her engaged social media audience of 67,000 people to share about her life embracing Maasai culture, and to call for support when needed.
Through fundraising and advocacy, she has managed to provide menstrual kits to hundreds of Maasai girls and women, and drive many other projects.
Sidai Designs & Stephanie Fuchs
We were inspired to align ourselves with Stephanie to increase our impact on the Maasai community. Why work towards impact alone, when you can go so much further with others?
We had wanted to offer menstrual kits to our Maasai women artisans for a long time, and finally found through Stephanie this grassroots, Maasai-led project by women for women that we were excited to support.
Knowing that Stephanie’s grasp of Maa is fluent, we asked her to come along and discuss the project with our Maasai artisans herself, and find out whether this would be something they need or want. The response was a unanimous and enthusiastic YES! So, here we are. Let’s do this!
DONATE NOW for less than a lunch, and afford women and girls in Maasai communities the opportunity to equally participate in civic life, increase their social status and self-esteem, and reach their full potential.
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