Interview: Rucha and Pakhi of The Launch Pad On a World Without Period Poverty
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Rucha and Pakhi of The Launch Pad share with us their vision for a period-poverty free future and how to get there
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about The Launch Pad and how it came about?
The Launch Pad is an organization with a dual purpose: to spread awareness about menstruation and donate sanitary products to women and girls who need them. Our main aim is to help eliminate menstrual inequity and ensure sanitary products for all.
Last year, during the cyclone season, we saw many organizations donate food, water, and clothes to those in need, however no one was distributing sanitary products – despite the fact that they are essential to health and wellbeing for half of the population.
It was at this point we knew we had to do something, and so we put our efforts into creating an organization that would work towards ending the stigma around periods and help bridge the gap of access to period products. This brainstorming led us to create The Launch Pad.
One of the main goals of The Launch Pad is to provide period products to women and girls in areas where they might not usually have access to them. How do you go about sourcing and distributing the products?
We source the products by raising funds from a variety of sources and then we reach out to menstrual product wholesalers, who provide the products to us at subsidized rates. This helps to significantly reduce our costs.
In terms of distribution, we have volunteers who help to dispense products amongst the needy. The local police also play a big role, helping us to increase our coverage and maximize our efforts.
What does a world without period poverty look like; and how do you think we can get there?
A world without period poverty is a world in which gender inequality is non-existent. It’s a world where thousands of girls do not have to miss out on their education due to lack of sanitary products. It’s a world where education and healthcare are provided to all girls and women.
Simply put, a world without period poverty is a better place to live in. To create this world it is vital that we understand that periods are not a choice: they are a biological reality for half of the population and we need to do our best to provide the necessary products to make sure they don’t interfere with education, health or wellbeing.
"Simply put, a world without period poverty is a better place to live in. To create this world it is vital that we understand that periods are not a choice: they are a biological reality for half of the population..."
Governments have very much taken a back seat to NGOs when it comes to tackling period poverty? Why do you think that is?
The government has a crucial role to play when it comes to ending period poverty and responding to the needs of women and girls in relation to menstruation. In India, the government just recently opened its eyes to period poverty, organizing a national campaign called #YESIBLEED to help draw attention to the issue.
Other countries such as Scotland are lowering or outright eliminating taxes on menstrual hygiene products, proving themselves to be at the forefront of period equality.
Finally, how can we as individuals help join your mission to tackle menstrual inequality globally?
As individuals, we have a huge role to play in both ending the stigma surrounding periods and furthering the discussion about menstrual inequality. One great way of doing this is by raising awareness and educating those around you about the reality of menstrual inequity worldwide. Alternatively, you also can volunteer to distribute menstrual hygiene products or donate to organizations that provide sanitary products.