MoonCatcher Project : Removing barriers for girls
RC of Metro Iloilo
Every month in the Philippines, many girls suffer from menstruation-related problems such as severe abdominal pain, dizziness and even loss of consciousness. These problems are magnified when girls do not have access to sanitary pads and end up using alternatives such as leaves or bundled house clothes.
These are the same problems faced by 25 young girls from Leon town, in the province of Iloilo initially chosen by the Rotary Club of Metro Iloilo for its MoonCatcher Project, in partnership with the organization of the same name that pioneered a menstrual management advocacy in the United States.
Ellie von Willsheim of New York founded the MoonCatcher organization in 2010. A year after, the group has distributed “MoonCatcher Kits'' or reusable, washable menstrual management kits to girls in Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leon, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti and Honduras.
MoonCatcher kits are reusable, washable menstruation pads that are made of fleece with a piece of Tyvek in between. Tyvek is a unique non-woven material made by Dupont and is lightweight, breathable, waterproof and prevents bacterial penetration and aging. Each kit contains three pads which enables the user to change the pad while the soiled pad is being washed. This prevents the repeated use of pads to save on cost when using sanitary pads.
In July last year, the Rotary club entered a memorandum of understanding with the US organization to manufacture the kits locally.
Each MoonCatcher kit costs $5 or Php 250 to make. The club has raised funds just enough to make 500 pads but it plans to raise more for them to produce an additional thousand pads that will be distributed to poverty-stricken communities, public elementary and high schools and women’s correctional facilities all over the Philippines.
The pilot project received encouraging feedback from the initial beneficiaries - “I can now walk and go somewhere when before I was bedridden during my period due to severe pain” and “I usually use clothes when at home in the evenings so I can free flow. But now I can even free flow when at work as the kit has sufficient pads to prevent leakage. It is also not bulky to make it comfortable to wear and not be too obvious when wearing jeans.”
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