Break down the taboo. Grab yourself a ‘Period People Perk’ to help women living in poverty in the UK and overseas manage their menstruation
Taboos around periods exist all over the world, we are raising £7000 to enable us to scale up our enterprise, which sells sustainable menstrual products and uses 100% of the profits to break down taboos both here in the UK and overseas. We provide access to ‘period friendly’ toilets, education and appropriate sanitary products.
What’s the problem?
In Bolivia, it’s believed that eating onions whilst on your period will give you cancer. In Uganda, menstruating women are not allowed to touch or milk a cow for fear that the cow will get sick and die. In Nepal menstruating girls are banished to the cow shed and treated as untouchables. In the UK, menstruating homeless women are often forced to chose between a tampon and their next meal.
Around the world, menstruating women are subjected to fear, shame and restrictions. The taboos which have been built up through tradition and a lack of education lead to missed school, missed work and poor health. We want to help empower women and girls around the world to manage their menstruation effectively and to break down these taboos.
In the UK, the taboo of menstrual waste, both economical and physical, is often overlooked. In each women’s lifetime she will:
Use 11,000 disposable sanitary products
Create 150Kg of contaminated sanitary waste
Spend over £3500 on her period
How do we solve it?
No More Taboo is a not-for-profit social enterprise. We sell reusable menstrual products, including menstrual cups and washable pads, we use 100% of the profits from these sales to help women and girls living in poverty to manage their menstruation. Whether that’s living on the streets in Bristol or in rural Nepal, smashing period taboos will enable these women access to the basic human right of menstruating with dignity.
Over the next five years, we aim to prevent 743 tonnes of waste going to landfill, save women £16 million and educate more than 9,000 UK school children.
This is your chance to make a change.
Change your impact on the planet, by using or encouraging someone you love to use a reusable sanitary product.
Change perceptions on menstruation, by joining the conversation and eradicating the taboo.
Change the lives of women and girls living in poverty by alleviating some of the stress that comes with their period each month.
So what do we actually do?
No More Taboo sells menstrual cups and washable pads, here in the UK, at the RRP but instead of our goal being to make ourselves money we spend all the profits on breaking down the taboo surrounding menstruation.
Our projects involve partnering with organisations such as homeless shelters in the UK and NGOs in developing countries to deliver vital education on menstrual hygiene, give women and girls access to sustainable sanitary materials and provide toilets and facilities fit for menstruating women and girls.
We are keen advocates for making menstruation mainstream! Why has something 50% of the world do been built up into such a taboo topic? We’re working hard to reduce the stigma and negativity that surrounds menstruation.
Chloe, our founder, spent six months in 2014 working on a Menstrual Hygiene project in Bolivia, working with a group of girls who had very little knowledge about menstruation. They were using dirty floor rags as their only form of sanitary protection and were terrified that if they ate onions on their period they would get cancer. However, Chloe learnt these same girls had real concern for the harm that was being done to “pacha mama” aka Mother Earth in discarding used sanitary towels. This made her think if these girls can be so worried about this, why are we at home in the UK not doing more? The idea for No More Taboo was born; a not-for-profit social enterprise that sells reusable menstrual products in the UK to generate funds to help girls like this manage their menstruation effectively.
Chloe has since researched menstrual taboos and traditions in both Uganda and Nepal and is keen for No More Taboo to work with organisations all over the world to broach this difficult topic.
Empowering women by improving their menstrual hygiene management and access to sanitation.
Reducing the environmental impact of disposable sanitary products.
Breaking the silence around menstruation and sanitation.
What have we achieved so far?
Last October we won Enterprise Nation’s Start-Up of the Year Award and came highly commended in the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition. We are part of the Bristol School for Social Enterprise and Business West’s Start and Grow Programme.
No More Taboo launched in March 2015. Since then we have:
- Developed relationships with five reusable menstrual product suppliers.
- Worked in three different developing nations.
- Accomplished our first 100 sales.
- Held over 10 pop-up stalls at events.
We’ve even visited number 10 downing street to talk business with Daniel Korski Special Advisor for business, possibly the first time “so what exactly is a menstrual cup?” has been uttered under that roof.
Our pilot UK education programme, currently running in three Bristol secondary schools, aims to make menstruation a normal every day topic for everyone that can be discussed in a fun, interactive and empowering manner.
Our research with homeless women in Bristol and refugees in Edinburgh aims to understand their needs around menstruation, developing partnerships with shelters to provide support.
We have engaged our first international partner in Nepal. We will help to develop their work around reducing menstrual taboos, such as ‘chaupaddi’ a practice in rural Nepal which involves complete isolation of young women during their period. Find out more in this video vlog from our recent trip to Nepal:
What do we sell?
We currently sell three types of menstrual cup Mooncup, Fleurcup and RubyCup and two types of sanitary pads EasyPad and Honour Your Flow Pads, alongside some accessories. You can see more at our store: www.nomoretaboo.org/store (or purchase them here via our crowdfunder rewards section).
Alternative products are made of more sustainable materials. A menstrual cup will last up to 10 years and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time and a washable pad will last up to 5 years. These products can save you over £3500 in a lifetime. They are more natural, more comfortable and more sustainable. Plus, when you buy a product from No More Taboo you know the profits are going to empower women and girls living in poverty.
Our customers are young, independent women who want to take control of their life and make a change to our society. This includes students, young professionals and working mothers. We aim to promote these products in different markets to where they have been traditionally seen, generally within eco-friendly and feminist circles. We want to go beyond this and show that these options make sense economically, socially and environmentally but also because they empower other women too.
Why a social enterprise?
As a charity one of the key challenges is fundraising. By selling products, not only are we able to put the profits from these sales into charitable projects but we can also start to reduce our impact on the environment. We can help to reduce the number of disposable sanitary products going into landfill each year and raise awareness of the issues women and girls face in other parts of the world. We will be much more financially sustainable if we have an income from selling products alongside donations to our charitable aspects.
Our customers get a great product, which saves them money, helps save our planet AND helps women living in poverty manage their own menstruation.
What’s our vision for the future?
Our aim is to have an entirely sustainable business model by Year 5, requiring no outside funding to manage the charitable aspects of our project. This means all over-heads and project costs will be covered by the revenue from sales of sustainable menstrual products. Enabling us to reach our goal of preventing 743 tonnes of waste going to landfill, saving UK women £16 million which they can reinvest into the local economy and educating more than 9,000 UK school children to stop the stigma surrounding menstruation for the next generation.
Beyond this, we hope to have three UK partner projects working to help homeless women and refugees here in the UK to have access to adequate sanitary products and three international partners. Our focus for working with partners overseas is long term, sustainable relationships.
What will your pledges help us to achieve?
We’re running this campaign to take our enterprise to the next level, from start-up to scale-up, enabling us to not only to smash the taboos nationally but also internationally.
With your donations we will:
- Deliver our first international project. We shall develop a strong relationship with our partners in Nepal enabling us to put in place our first menstrual hygiene project by the end of next year.
- Grow our UK Education Programme. Currently piloting in schools around the Bristol area, we want a chance to work with all sorts of young people to get them breaking down the taboo, exploring different options and empathising with women who don’t have the same opportunities as others do.
- Deliver our homelessness and refugee projects in the UK. Recently it’s been brought to the public’s attention that homeless women and girls in the UK go to desperate measures to deal with their period, our research shows that women’s periods can be really irregular. We want to help provide appropriate sanitary products and develop educational workshops to work with these vulnerable women.
- Expand our UK product range and reach new markets. We currently sell 3 different types of menstrual cup and 2 different types of pads but we know there are other products out there. We want to work with our customers to see what’s missing and if we can’t find it, then we will design it. So that there’s a sustainable solution for everyone.
- Provide “Period Parties” for all. Our unique “Period Parties” are a great place to break down the taboo. Think Tupperware parties but with sustainable sanitary products, an open forum getting friends together to ask questions, to talk periods and to have fun.
What rewards can I get?
We have three different types of taboo busting rewards:
Break the taboo [BREAK:]
Bag yourself an amazing perk with a ‘Break taboo’ reward. Whether this is the little nudge you need to try a menstrual cup or washable pad or if you want to show off your taboo breaking skills in a stylish t-shirt there’s plenty of ‘period people perks’ to choose from available from £10-£50.
Smash the taboo [SMASH:]
If you’re not fussed about a perk and prefer your money to be spent directly on our taboo smashing work this is the option for you. These ‘smash taboo rewards’ are purely donation based, we will keep you in the loop with how far your donation has gone each month. Available from £5 to £1000 or choose how much you want to give.
Wipe out the taboo [WIPE OUT:]
Do you want to share and empower others with your reward? Why not pick a ‘wipe out taboo reward’, these range from being one of our very first ‘Period Party hosts’ exploring menstruation whilst having fun with your friends, getting a workshop on taboos for your workplace or local school and even having a period policy make-over for your business*. Available from £50 (if you’re an early bird) to £700.
*Please note: location based rewards may be subject to travel costs if beyond the local area, we are based in Bristol and the South West area. Please get in contact if you are interested in these rewards but outside of this area and we will see what we can offer. Places may be limited on workshops please get in touch to enquire if suitable for your school, business or group.
I want to get involved but I haven’t got any money to pledge right now, what can I do?
You can pledge as little as £5 and it will make a massive difference. However, if you can’t pledge there’s lots more you can do to help:
- You can recommend our products to a friend.
- You can join us on Facebook and follow us on twitter @nomoretaboo.
- You can support us with skills and time. We are constantly looking for volunteers to help us. Get in touch let us know that you are keen to volunteer by contacting our founder Chloe ([email protected]).
- You can sign up to our mailing list here.
Most importantly help us start the conversation about menstruation and smash the taboos by sharing our crowd funder.