The Menstrual Pad Movement

The Menstural Pad Movement

Join the Women's Center in our Menstrual Pad Movement, a form of artistic and powerful activism where women donate, make, and create reusable cloth pads and liners for women and girls in Kenya.

We are currently planning our Menstrual Pad Movement event. Last year we put on this event during Spring Term and Mary Kessler, one of our student employees, travelled to Kenya over the summer to personally deliver the pads and liners. 

If you would like to be part of this powerful and artistic form of activism, please look out for updates on this webpage. 

Right now we are taking fabric donations. Any fabric is welcome, but we especially would love donations of flannel fabric. If you have no fabric to donate, you can donate $5 to buy enough fabric for one pad kit for one woman.

Donations can be dropped off at the Women's Center. 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at or 541-737-3186. 

Mary's Story

Below is Mary's story and a few pictures from her trip:

"After completing my HDFS 209 internship with OSU’s Women’s Center they hired me as aprogram coordinator. One day at work I spent a few minutes skimming through a magazine and cameacross an article about issues of young women in sub-Saharan African countries dropping out of schoolsimply because they had started their periods. It starts by them having to miss a week of school everymonth due to a lack in feminine hygiene products; they do with leaves, old newspaper, or rags thatmore than likely fail and result in embarrassment at school. Some women go to school regardless anduse their dress to suffice. As this goes on the women more than likely drop out and get married atages as young as 13. Not to mention products are extremely expensive for families that make close tonothing, and there are no landfills or trash systems so products are only adding to more environmentalissues these countries struggle with already.

Washable reusable cloth menstrual pads were being sent to these countries to help so Iimmediately started planning an event for a collaborative stitch in for OSU students and communitymembers to donate fabric and make pads. I had already known prior to this that I was going to Kenya forthe summer and planned to bring them with me and find a way to distribute them. I couldn’t wait forthe day I would give them out. I brought one suitcase full of 65 pads, each having 5 removable inserts sothe pad would be usable for five days.

Every Wednesday and Thursday a team went out to the schools to do teeth checkups and teachthem how to brush their teeth and how important hygiene is. I met with my supervisor to discuss myplan of handing out the pads and he immediately made me write up detailed instructions of how I madethese. He wanted me to bring instructions to the teachers at the schools we visited and to tailors acrosstown to make them. I felt I was making a difference in this community. Everyone I spoke to about thepads was shocked at the idea and how much they really are needed.

After driving for 25 minutes or so ‘out in the bush’ we arrived at the school. There were 55school aged girls that sat under a tree with me, the pads, and the teacher to help with translation. Itaught them how use and them and what they are for. I start by asking how many of them had startedtheir periods and after a few minutes a few brave souls raised their hand giggling until all raised theirhands. I handed them all out and even the teachers were wanting ones, they were all so thankful. Theteachers discussed with me how lucky there are for me to choose their school out of hundreds in thisarea. I cried. To think these pads were made by the Oregon State University community 13,000 milesacross the globe. Thank you to all that lended a helping hand."

-Mary Kessler