The south rift valley of Kenya is semi arid, and with this harsh environment comes a number of challenges. Water is at the top, and with this comes the sanitation challenge. One thing that is unprecedented is also affecting the environment and the young girls in the area.
Synthetic disposable sanitary towels have proven to be a two edged word in this region. Sanitary pads are made mostly of synthetic materials and gels which when disposed of onto the environment will not break down or will find their way into water bodies. Being highly cultural, the traditions of the Maasai have made access to proper sanitation quite a challenge. e.g. Maasai men do not mix their waste with women and children.
Gentle Chic have found a way to solve the sanitation environmental problem all in one special product; a reusable and biodegradable sanitary towel. “A packet of Gentle Chic sanitary towel can last up to a year. The fabrics we use are very body friendly and are made from cotton hence making them biodegradable” – Merian Kirapash; Co-founder of Gentle Chic. The product is sensitive to the fact that water is a precious commodity in this area. Therefore it’s made in a way that needs very little water to clean.
Being a small operation, gentle chic have reached a large number of girls and completely change their confidence and self esteem. The pads have reached over 5000 girls so far. These pads are at the same time reducing the negative impact to the environment and the community.