Special Offer

Posts by Month

Donating Pads

MH Day Logo

Menstrual Hygiene Day is May 28th

May 28th, 2014 marked the first annual Menstrual Hygiene Day. Celebrations were held all over the world, from India to Uganda to Germany to right here in Portland, Oregon. We held our own event at a local feminist bookstore, where we screened the film Monthlies and held a group discussion about periods–check out photos from our event here!

We celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day because menstruation matters. Why? Because every girl deserves to go to school, even when she’s on her period. Because every woman deserves to live free from shame. Because menstruation is part of the process that creates life. Why wouldn’t menstruation matter?

And yet, we so rarely talk about menstruation! Maybe in hushed tones, in the ladies’ room, when we ask a stranger for a tampon. Or shyly, to our mothers, when we start our cycles and need supplies. Maybe it’s time we speak up.

This May 28th, we invite you to host a gathering in your community to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day with us. The way you celebrate will be unique to your community, but we’ve collected some ideas for you below. We hope you’ll announce your event on the official Menstrual Hygiene Day website and get in touch with us to let us know what you’re up to. Make sure to take photos at your event and tag them #gladragspads on social so we can see them!

Not up for hosting? Help a friend make the switch to cloth pads. When you spend $20 on GladRags.com for yourself, we’ll include a free GladRags pantyliner for you to pass on to someone in your community. Just enter coupon code MHDAY during the month of May to redeem your pantyliner.


Get Involved

  • Use #menstruationmatters on social media and start the conversation about why periods are important.
  • Host a gathering and use these handy 28+ conversation starters to get a dialogue going! Pro tip: start by establishing some boundaries that help participants feel safe sharing. Creating a judgment-free space — and assuring participants that their viewpoints will be treated respectfully by all — goes a long way in having an engaging discussion.
  • Share the Menstrual Hygiene Day infographic (see below) on social media to educate your friends about why menstruation matters.
  • Download activity guides and templates here and here.
  • Follow GladRags on Pinterest for boards and pins to motivate, inspire, and share.
  • Official GladRags Ambassadors can contact us for demo products, door prizes, stickers, etc for their event once they have a confirmed guest list with a minimum of 8 attendees.

MH DAY infographics

As part of the Mandela Washington fellowship I was posted for an internship at GladRags in Portland to apply skills I learned during the six weeks of learning at UC Berkeley  as well as learn how to set up my own factory as we have a similar vision. It’s been two months of learning, work and fun.

Well, some of the things may sound cliche but they are truly what I observed during my stay here and they work! They are listed below in no particular order;

1. Hard work pays off, you have to be diligent at what you do. Nothing comes for free. You have to put your mind, energy and efforts into your work and it will eventually pay off.

2. Be excellent, no one likes mediocre work.

3. Be informed, know what it takes to make things work in your company. Be alert, know current affairs.

4. Build partnerships, you cannot do it all alone. Look for people with similar agenda, mission and vision and work with them you will be surprised by how much you will achieve in shortest time possible.


5. Be hands on. I’ll give an example: my boss is the president of the company and the person in charge of shipping was unwell. There was so much to be shipped that my boss offered to do it herself though the person had said she would do it the next day.


6. Running a company is not easy. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice your time, energy and things you love to make it work.

7. Things I got to appreciate: feedback. I really didn’t know feedback mattered until when I approached new partners to work with GladRags. Always respond to that mail, you never know.

8. Branding, you really have to sell your brand, people need to know what it is that you do. There are cost effective ways of doing it. You can creatively use social media to build your brand.

9. Be creative. Keep in mind simplicity is key.

10. Analytical thinking, analyze before you take any action. Identify options you have at hand.

11. Etiquette. Be nice and kind.

12. Keep a diary, a to-do list to keep you abreast with what you should do. It saves time and helps you know what tasks should be done. Manage your time, remember time is money. There’s nothing like African time 😉

13. Customer is king, always treat your customer well even if they are wrong. Apologize if need be.

14. Always treat your staff well, commend them for a job well done.

15. Always think ahead, nothing should catch you by surprise. Have a plan.

16. Be passionate about what you do.

17. Sometimes take a walk, it really does help to clear up your mind… I will never forget the walk to Dutch Bros for coffee 😉

18. Be conscious of the environment, recycle and reduce waste.

19. I’m a new blogger, part of my work was to blog for the organization every week and this helped me on my blogging and writing.

20. Be organized and neat. It really helps to have an uncluttered office.

21. Be open to learn, you can never stop learning. Knowledge is power.

22. Listen to other people’s opinion keenly.

23. Always jot your ideas on a notebook or whichever works for you but have them written down that way they will keep you focused. Do you have your mission, vision and goals written down?

24. It’s OK to bring your pets to work, it’s never that serious 😉 I will miss you Riggs and Roger, you helped me deal with and overcome my fears 😉 (I feared dogs, I would not be seen in the same room with them) and for that matter I’m getting myself a pug. :)

Riggs and Roger
25. Not everyday you will wake up feeling awesome and energetic ready to face the world, there are days you will want to sleep in and forget everything going on around you. When you are in that state, get coffee–it works wonders!


26. Believe in yourself. Trust me it’s only you who is keeping yourself from success and happiness. I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, give back to your community. Reach out to the poor and vulnerable and help empower them.

I am delighted that at GladRags I was taught, engaged and involved in all activities to equip me to take up my leadership role to the next level.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Have a Lovely read!

Maureen :)

 About the author of this post:


Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley

“Education, of course, creates many opportunities. In Kenya, for most people of my generation and after, a high school education or a college degree is a guaranteed ticket out of the perceived drudgery of subsistence farming or the cultivation of cash crops for little return.” From her book Unbowed:A memoir by late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathai.

Nobel laureate Late Wangari mathai

Nobel Laureate LWangari Maathai

My passion is to empower girls through education. I inform them the importance of education and the opportunities that come with it. I want them to complete school and become better people in the society. Be great citizens who are able to make better decisions in life. I do this by holding motivational talks with the girls to inspire and boost their self esteem to propel them and to challenge them to work on their goals. We also have a mentorship program where we connect girls with mentors to guide them through especially when making career choices. The mentors are role models in their lives. We want the girls to believe in themselves to have a positive mindset. We encourage the girls to develop their talents and work on them, because these are gifts that have been instilled in them to help them achieve their purpose. I believe the girls need role models who are doing great in their lives, people who have succeeded in different sectors in the society. We want our girls to know that it’s possible they too can make it in life just like we did.

The girls are seeking role models whom they can emulate. Of late I have been seeing women posting nude photos on social media just to get more likes on Instagram and Facebook, more followers on twitter. But at what cost? What message are we sending to our girls? That all these values we have been advocating for are not working? Thus we have to show people our bodies for them to like us? Because they too will want to do the same. I know it’s a free world; we can do what we want with our lives, but let’s think beyond ourselves and before we post that picture or comment think of the young people in our lives.

I remember when I was growing up, I wanted to be so many things depending on the kind of people that came across my life. I wanted to be a journalist because I liked how Beatrice Marshall of then KTN presented herself she was smart, eloquent and confident. I wanted to be a lawyer: I had seen how Agnes Murgor had won her court cases. She was confident, intelligent, and straightforward. I wanted to be an environmentalist just like late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai; she was a fighter who believed in herself and was passionate about the environment. I also wanted to be a nurse like my mother, Christine Muthengi, just because of the seminars and workshops she attended in many countries as a senior nurse. And there are many others who shaped my life.

Let us remember we are role models to our young girls and boys and teach them values that will help them grow. Values they will stand by and work with in our society. Let’s not forget we are nurturing leaders of tomorrow and teach them to believe in themselves, live with a purpose and passionately fulfill it.

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” – Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai

I believe mine is to empower girls. What is your little thing?

Have a lovely day.

Maureen :)

 About the author of this post:


Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley

Universal education is one of the millennial development goals set to be achieved in the world by 2015 — we have less than 500 days to go. According to UNICEF, there are 31 million girls of primary school age not enrolled in school. How can we achieve this goal when girls are not enrolled in school or drop out due to early child marriages and other cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), poverty, lack of school fees, sexual violence and lack of SANITARY TOWELS.

How can we achieve this goal when girls miss close to 5 days of school because they cannot afford sanitary towels? Girls from poor families use unhygienic methods during their menstruation such as old pieces of clothes, tissue papers, cotton wool, feathers, and old goat skins. Others end up engaging in transactional sex in order to get money to buy sanitary towels. This exposes the young girls to risks of getting HIV/AIDS and some end up pregnant, thus dropping out of school. There was a feature aired by citizen media in Kenya in 2013 showing the dire need of sanitary towels in rural Kenya. Sad how something that should be considered as a basic need is assumed to be a luxury.


Pic courtesy of UNICEF

According to Ministry of Education in Kenya, there are 2.5 million girls aged between 9 and 18 years who need sanitary towels in Kenya. The government only caters for 568,925 girls from primary school (class 6-8) from 7,141 schools in 142 districts, which is only a fraction leaving out close to 2M girls who are in need, the demand is high.

Due to this gap I founded Donate a Pad initiative in December 2012 to try and help in my community. The initiative is mainly run from my salary and a monthly contribution from my best friend Mona Manani. Every month I buy sanitary towels and donate to 200 girls who cannot afford sanitary towels in the rural area in 9 schools in Kitui, Kenya. Basically girls who cannot afford sanitary towels miss school close to five days in a month hence affecting their performance and lower their self esteem hence affecting their confidence in school.

Donate A Pad ensures that the girls are in school by providing sanitary towels, their self esteem and dignity is restored. Since I started we have noticed the performance of the girls has improved and they are more confident. I also provide mentoring programs by connecting the girls with mentors to guide them through their education and career choice. The girls write to me sharing their dreams of what they want to be in future and how Donate A Pad is helping them in achieving their dreams. It’s so fulfilling to see girls excited about education. This inspires me to do what I do to make sure the girls are in school. No girl should miss school because they lack sanitary towels.


Teacher Esther distributing the sanitary towels


Chief Ndoo, Edna, Maureen and Kivulu Primary School with their Sanitary Towels.

So I have a plan in the near future of starting a manufacturing firm that will use agricultural waste materials such as banana fibers and papyrus to make affordable sanitary towels that will cater for the demand of sanitary towels as well as keep the girls in school. Am also doing a research on other sustainable alternative options such as cloth pads and menstrual cups that can be used to cater for this lack. We are also thinking of growth and soon we will be in Kisii, Meru, and Lesotho I will keep you posted as the plans unravel. Hopefully one day we will be able to donate to all the girls that need sanitary towels.


Maureen at Makerere University displaying the biodegradable sanitary towels

As of now you can donate a pad and help keep a girl in class. Did you know with only KES 396 ($4.50) you can keep a girl in school for the whole year?

I believe if you educate a girl you educate the whole community, and Nelson Mandela summed it all by saying “Education is the only weapon we can use to change the world.” 

Have a lovely Read,


About the author of this post:


Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley


We’ve written before about Izzy, who brings GladRags cloth pads to the orphanage in Nepal where she volunteers. Seeing a need for reliable menstrual protection, Izzy first contacted us way back 2010 to help her provide pads to the young women living at the orphanage.

She recently reached out to us again for more pads, and shared these photos and words of gratitude with us:



“I am happy to have the cloth pads because they are soft and are not harmful to my health. Thank you, GladRags.” -Kabita, 15





 “I like the pads because they can be reused and last longer than the plastic pads.” – Samjhana, 15





“I am happy for the pads because sometimes the girls threw the plastic pads in the garden and inappropriate places.” – Suraj, 15




“The GladRags are comfortable and they don’t pollute the environment.” -Sudha, 15



Big thanks to Izzy and Lia for coordinating this effort to make safe, effective menstrual products available to girls across the globe!

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

Great news from our friends at Empower Women in Africa! They’ve been chosen by Huffington Post as one of the top start-up NGOs in the nation! There are five different categories, each with two organizations in competition for a $10,ooo grant from IGNITEgood. This means that Empower Women in Africa is now competing against just one other organization within the Health and Wellness category!

Why choose EWA over their category competitor? Three reasons: sustainability, local ownership, and low-cost/far reach.

“EWA provides a means to increase education for girls, which creates opportunities lasting throughout their lifetimes. EWA is transitioning to local production, where women are taught to make and sell pads with locally available resources so communities can reap the benefits long after EWA is gone. To date, EWA has reached more than 2,500 girls throughout Africa solely through volunteer work and donations.” – Lori Schippers, founder of EWA

To cast your vote — no login, account setup, or email address entry form required:

1. Visit  the voting page here

2. Scroll down to the Health & Wellness category

3. Select Empower Women in Africa and click VOTE!

We hope you’ll join us in supporting this amazing organization!

Here at GladRags, we’re always looking for ways to improve the way we do business. Sometimes, the solution is obvious (recycle everything) and sometimes, it’s not so straightforward. When we became a Benefit Corporation (more on that here!) we realized that we had room for improvement with our merchant services provider.

First off, what in the world is a merchant services provider? They’re the ones who make accepting credit cards possible, by processing the customer’s card and charging a small fee to the seller. As a company that sells products online, this is a service we use every day. So we thought: how can we make this super important part of our operations fall in line with our values?

After some research, we discovered Dharma Merchant Services and fell in love. Like GladRags, Dharma is also a Benefit corporation, with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Even better, they donate 10% of their revenue from fees to a non-profit organization of our choice!

We’re proud to have chosen to continue our support of Empower Women in Africa with this added revenue source, and thank YOU, our customers, for every transaction you make with us. Any time you place an order with us, you’ll be adding to the amount Dharma Merchant Services will send to Empower Women in Africa, at no cost to you. Just another reason to feel amazing about shopping at GladRags.com!

We want to hear from you: what else can we do to make our impact on people and the planet even more positive? Tell us in the comments!

To receive news and offers like this in your inbox, join our Savings Club

Day of Peace

International Day of Peace | 10% off with Purchase of an Empower Kit

Today is the International Day of Peace, a day set aside by the UN’s General Assembly to devote to the strengthening of the ideals of peace within and among nations.

This year, world leaders met in Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and in keep with the context of that summit, the theme for this year’s observance of the International Day of Peace is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”. Read more on un.org…

Reach Out…Affect a Life in Africa

For girls in rural Africa, the start of menstruation can mean the end of an education and the start of a lifetime of missed opportunities. GladRags Empower Kits provide sustainable menstrual supplies that will improve the lives of impoverished girls and help them to reach their full potential.

This weekend, adding an Empower Kit to your cart on GladRags.com will automatically give you 10% off everything else you’re purchasing. It’s our way of saying “thanks” in observance of this Day of Peace.

BCorpDid you Know that GladRags is a B Corp?

We were recently certified as a Benefit Corporation, a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Through a company’s public B Impact Report, anyone can access performance data about the social and environmental practices that stand behind their products.

View GladRags’ B Impact Report

A huge thank you to everyone who purchased an Empower Kit through GladRags.com — your donations are making a difference! Read on to hear from Patty how cloth menstrual pads can help empower women in Africa.

teaching families about cloth menstrual pads

I just returned from Uganda and had a wonderful time. The new uniforms and sanitary kits were well received. Hussein stood in front of the village parents and gave a speech about the importance of girls and education and about the GladRags cloth menstrual pad kits – some of the parents got embarrassed and Hussein was really funny addressing their embarrassment. Amazing that a school in rural Uganda has a more “open” community about talking on girl’s issues than we do here in the states!

empower kit

There is a teacher at the schools that meets monthly with older girls to talk all about their personal issues – like a mentor – really cool. We are encouraging the girls who got sanitary kits to pick a younger girl at the school to mentor and take under their wing in order to help them be more comfortable with talking about girl issues.

Thank you for all your support and feel free to continue contributing if you would like to – we can’t express our appreciation enough to all those who support One School at a Time.

Patty GilbertCo-founder of One School at a Time

26 young women and girls were completely attentive at a recent class at their rural school in Uganda. The topic was menstruation and the facilitator was Hussein, program manager for One School at a Time.There had never been a class like this one before and the subject was both interesting and relevant. Some of the girls were already menstruating and some were not. One girl commented “menstruation is a problem because it comes when we are not prepared.”

The discussion then became a brainstorming session on how the girls could be better prepared. Everyone agreed that it would be helpful to count the 28 days between cycles, (noting plenty of variation) and then acknowledged that sanitary pads and nickers (the Ugandan word for underwear) would be needed. Hussein asked, “who needs pads?” and every single girl raised her hand.
Menstruation is one of the reasons that girls drop out of school in Uganda. Parents often can not afford to provide sanitary pads and so, reluctant to be humiliated at school, girls choose to stay home. They miss valuable class time and some eventually just drop out of school completely.

One School at a Time is fundraising now to purchase 100 Empower Kits ($22 each) for each older girl at our two partner schools in Uganda. The kit contains 5 re-useable pads. These pads are culturally appropriate (Ugandan girls are familiar with washing their menstrual rags and re-using) and will provide enough sanitary supplies to last each girl for at least three to five years. By donating a kit, you provide these girls with security and confidence and most importantly, an opportunity to stay in school. Join with us in this beautiful endeavor!