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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

The Red Heart project helps African women recycle pads 

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Jo Morrish providing a sewing machine to women in Kenya so they can make reusable period pads. Photo supplied

Something that we don’t always stop to think about is how African women access menstrual and hygiene products – pads, tampons, moon cups, sponges or other ways to manage that monthly bleed.

For many African women, the traditional way of managing their menstrual bleeding is to use grasses to absorb the blood, but this can lead to infections and other issues. 

Reusable period pants. Photo supplied

While local Jo Morrish was in Kenya, she got talking to Edith, who lives in Masai Mara and works with women to create work opportunities.

They decided to look at how to make reusable pads. 

With the help of some creative local friends in Mullumbimby, they researched and then created a prototype for a reuseable menstrual pad. 

Jo says, ‘I then took a sewing machine that was donated by friends, and the prototype, and headed back to see Edith in Kenya. The women were so excited. 

‘They took the idea and then created a version of the reusable and washable pad that met their needs.’

Jo Morrish with James who was on his way to deliver menstrual pads to the Magadi school his sisters attend. Photo supplied

During her stay Jo headed off for a mini safari and when they got bogged they she met a young man named James who was on his way to deliver menstrual pads to the Magadi school his sisters attend. He was short by 50 packets so Jo donated the money needed to buy the rest and they went together to the school to deliver the pads to the young women.

‘I want to go back to their school and work with the girls to teach them how to make a basic, material, reusable pad,’ Jo said. 

Mad about pads

‘I am looking to demonstrate how they can make their own menstrual pads and hope to source local materials so that this is something they can continue to do. 

‘I hope this will make their lives easier and it is also a reminder that they can do things for

Jo Morrish at the girls school providing period pads. Photo supplied

themselves, by making their period pads they are taking care of themselves and they can do this into the future. 

‘In a sense it is symbolic of being in control of their own lives, now and tomorrow.’ 


To contribute to The Red Heart Project you can donate at www.gofundme.com/f/red-heart-project or contact Jo on 0439 492 804. 

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