Sis Paddy: New take on sanitary pads

Orefile Malebo, who uses herself as a testing subject to educate young girls about the safest household materials to use when making a handmade sanitary pad. PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

While sanitary pad drives and tax on these products have been a topic of much discussion in many parts of the country recently, Orefile Malebo (28), a graphic designer at Mahareng Publishing, has decided to take a different approach to make handmade sanitary pads from safe household materials. She finds sustainable solutions for the problems that many young girls are facing.

Malebo explained to Bloemfontein Courant that her Sis Paddy project, which she officially started in 2016, is all about educating young girls on menstruation and introducing her sanitary pad project through social media. She said because of menstruation being a taboo subject in many cultures, she wants to create a safe space where not just women but also men can speak about menstruation freely without feeling embarrassed.

“Right now I am focusing on using myself as a test subject to educate young girls about the safest household materials to use when making a handmade sanitary pad. So once I have made a sanitary pad, I wear it and afterwards I upload videos to show how it worked out.”
To develop this concept, she had to research articles on similar topics to find out what has been done and how she could contribute to the body of research that already exists, she explained.

“What I found in most of the articles is that the topic has been written about without actual sustainable solutions. I wanted to find a solution that is sustainable; one that will also enable young girls to become more self-sufficient.” Malebo said in the articles she also found that some girls are using cloths at the time of their menstruation and to dry these, they hide the cloth in dark places such as under the bed, which doesn’t allow the cloth to dry out properly.

She decided that her focus would be on educating them on what kind of cloth to use and how it should be used. She explained that she uses household materials such as 100% cotton (face cloth), which is one of the safest materials that has a high absorbency rate. And, as it is also safe to use on sensitive skin, she uses plastic bags or workable plastic containers as the bottom part of the sanitary pad. The other material is a kind of an absorbent blanket material, which will feature in upcoming Sis Paddy videos.
To take a look at the different materials that have been used and to follow the journey, follow: