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The concept of re-usable sanitary pads might seem hard to picture, but that is exactly what Barclay Paul Okari created when he discovered that there was a need for affordable sanitary pads especially among teenage girls. With a loan from his parents, he started a business and went into production, making sanitary pads which can be washed and used again.
This is not really foreign to us as most of our mothers and grandmothers had specially cut ‘rags’ which they used during their monthly periods. They would wash them and dry them, ready to use next time. These were inexpensive and affordable, even if they sound like they must have been uncomfortable. However, Safi pads are nothing like what our grannies used.
The outer covering is made with stylish African fabric and it looks like something a teenage girl would want to own. The important part is that they are much cheaper than the usual disposable pads and as an added plus, they last longer and are good for multiple uses.
The founder was recently interviewed by Forbes magazine and when asked how he started the company, this was what he had to say:
“I started Impact Africa Industries in 2011. The idea was completely by default. I took a volunteering job in a girl’s school in rural Kenya and at the time I thought I the schools did not have enough teachers. When I got there I realized that pockets of girls kept missing school. On further inquiry, I learnt that the girls missed schools because they were on their periods and could not afford sanitary pads. I then wondered why there were no affordable pads in the market for this kind of population. Then the idea hit me that I could fill in that gap. That is when I registered the company and started learning about sanitary pads and the market. We now distribute across East Africa.”
You can read the interview here.
Unfortunately, Safi Pads are not available in Nigeria yet. They have plans to spread all over Africa, but it’s a wonderful concept and the founder was a 2013 finalist for the Anzisha Price, which is an award that is sponsored by MasterCard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy.
So the question is…