By ROZ CAMPBELL
If you’re reading this there’s a 50% chance you are a woman. Given that, if you’re in good health, there’s a 50% chance you have/ used to/ or will experience a menstrual period during your life.
I will always compare every period I have from now on to one I experienced last September. I am an ambassador for local charity One Girl, and as a result decided to take part in the “Do It in a Dress challenge”– raising money for girls’ education in Sierra Leone. The idea behind Do It in a Dress is, you pick a challenge, set a fundraising goal and do it in a school dress. Simple. I sat down for a while feeling a little anxious about picking a challenge. I really needed something that people would pay attention to and support. I felt like going to work or eating a bowl of soup in a school dress just wouldn’t be interesting enough, let alone motivation enough for my network to donate money towards.
So, the conclusion I came to was I would do away with my conventional methods of managing my period. Instead, I would use the methods I’d heard women and girls in the developing world resorted to every month – rags, sponges, newspaper, leaves, bark.
Maybe I should have just eaten a bowl of soup.
It was a difficult and uncomfortable time.
But you know what? I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as bad as what women in the developing world face every month. I have a shower, a toilet, a washing machine, I have everything I could ever need to live a healthy and successful life. I don’t have to walk for kilometers everyday just to collect water for my family with a damp rag shoved between my thighs giving me rashes, infections and bruises. Getting my period hasn’t stopped me from getting an education.
And I’m pretty sure it hasn’t stopped you either.
And so, that brings me to the reason I’m writing this article. When I became aware of this issue, I became aware of a plethora of issues affecting women in the developing world. Our world has lots of problems, but this is one I’d like to help change. I’m not an expert on women’s rights and equality, but I am a designer and entrepreneur. Both of these are about coming up with a solution and doing something differently. I’ve spent 12 months working on this solution, and the end result is Tsuno. I’m ready to put it out in the world and ask you a favour.
Tsuno is a business that will sell disposable sanitary pads made from bamboo fibre to the women of Australia. They work. They cost the same as other pads on the market. They will be packaged beautifully, featuring the work of a different emerging designer each month.
AND… Tsuno will be donating 50% of net profits to charities working in international women’s development. This has been written into the business plan, it is not a marketing gimmick. This is the reason Tsuno exists.
After 12 long months of dedicated designing, sourcing and planning, I am now ready to make my first bulk order. I need your help to raise the $40,000 required to get what I believe to be a truly sustainable social enterprise off the ground.
This is the favour I ask. I need 2000 women to pre-order $20 worth of pads through Australian crowd funding platform Pozible. $20 is not much, but collectively it will be what makes this project happen. Head here for more info and to pre-order from the campaign.
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, I’d love it if you could share it with your mum, sisters, friends, workmates and all of the women in your life. Tsuno has the capacity to have a huge impact on the lives of women around the world, and it all starts with you.
Roslyn Campbell is a 27 year old Melbourne based industrial designer and social entrepreneur. After studying Industrial Design at university she successfully ran a small accessories label, Minnen. Her heart, however, has always felt pulled towards a more socially conscious business model. Her ‘Do it in a Dress’ challenge was the final push she needed to make this a reality, and so Tsuno was born!