India: The Pad Project
A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education. Millions of girls in developing countries cannot afford or access sanitary pads, which means that when they get their period, they have to turn to unhealthy alternatives like dirty rags, leaves, or ashes.
In addition to the high risk of infection, every time their period comes, they have to miss school - and the more school they miss, the more likely they will fall too far behind and have to drop out entirely.
A man named Arunachalam Muruganantham from Tamil Nadu, India, created a machine that makes affordable, biodegradable pads from locally sourced materials. The machine does more than just supply girls with pads; it supplies a steady income to the women in the area who want to work on it.
Muruganantham is credited for innovating grassroots mechanisms and generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India.