Scraps of fabric bring dignity to young African women going through puberty

Transformation Textiles provide Dignity Kits to girls going through puberty in order to help them deal with menstruation without interrupting their education.

Transformation Textiles provide the emerging generation of young women in rural Africa high quality, affordable feminine hygiene products to ensure their education isn’t disrupted by puberty and menstruation management.

Without access to private toilets, running water and sanitary products, many young girls choose to stay away from school during their periods. This causes them to fall behind on their work and eventually to drop out. According to the Transformation Textiles website, only one in three girls graduates from school. Feminine hygiene products, such as the ones provided by Transformation Textiles and the Flo toolkit by students at the Art Center College of Design in California, help these young women to complete their education and break the cycle of poverty.

The company promotes environmental consciousness and works to reduce waste in their production processes. Their products are designed to be low-cost, high-impact solutions for young women.

Transformational Textiles began by providing reusable sanitary towels made from scraps and off cuts from textile factories. These then grew into a more holistic offering: the Dignity Kit, which includes two pairs of underwear, two waterproof shields, six reusable pads, a bucket, soap, a draw string bad and a booklet containing information on menstruation and explaining how to use and care for the products.

Before being given the kit, each girl attends an education session that helps her understand her changing body, how to use the kit and also teaches her basic self-defense. The Dignity Kit is designed to last for three years.

Rachel Starkey founded Transformation Textiles in 2010 when she came across scraps from a textile factory and used them to make blankets for refugees. After that she shifted her focus to help deal with the problem of school drop out rates amongst young African girls. They currently distribute reusable pads and dignity kits to girls in Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

All images from Transformation Textiles website and social media.