Heels for pads Initiative
Heels for pads is a Beauty With a Purpose project by Maria Wavinya (Miss World Kenya 2019) and it focuses on menstrual shaming and poverty. This agenda was brought to the foreground following the recent case of Jacqueline, a 14-year-old girl in rural Kenya who took her own life following an embarrassing experience with her class teacher.
“Having grown up in the slums, I know only too well the struggle of priority when little money is available. Having recently cleared my high school education and seen the challenges of self-esteem, humiliation, and lack of information when it came to experiencing one’s menstrual period, I took it upon myself to educate and reassure young girls on the importance of this experience in womanhood.”
In collaboration with the Mr. and Miss World Kenya office, the partnership with Heels For Pads, a social non-profit organization that is geared towards impacting young girls and community members by sensitizing them on period shaming as well as providing them with affordable pads.
“I have visited several schools at the primary and secondary level, visited slum dwellings as well as auctioned heels on radio and television in order to drive awareness and raise some funding for the cause.”
Heels4Pads Initiative is a CSR campaign under Sister Speaks Global, with the aim to raise and amplify awareness on period poverty while empowering women and girls to advance gender equality and equity through the menstrual health approach. Innovatively. Period poverty and Menstrual health and hygiene (MHH), according to UNICEF, MHH links to “health, well-being, gender equality, education, equity, empowerment, and rights which is directly linked to fulfilling proposed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs).
We use high heels are our core fundraising tool as to many women high heels are confidence boosters. We circle back confidence and restore dignity to girls and women in impoverished backgrounds by ensuring they have access to safe menstrual management products and education.
Heels4Pads has a two-fold agenda where we capitalize on the growing power of digital media and innovation to deconstruct myths around menses through campaigns, advocate for policy design and change and conduct social experiments and campaigns while employing a novel barter trade model to trade high heels with sanitary pads in public markets.
A call to action is done across social media platforms to receive high heels donations, then exchanged for sanitary pads in pop-up markets we set up in Nairobi, Kenya where we partner with flea markets, educational institutions, and public malls in doing so we publicly talk about periods and encourage normalizing the same.
The initiative also targets young women at the onset of their careers who otherwise do not have the purchasing power of high heels to help them look the part at attending an interview and/or the work internship and placements.
These young women who buy the high heels and exchange them with sanitary pads, end up being anonymously mentored by ceiling-crashers whom they deem as role models in their respective careers, as they get to walk a mile in the high heel of other successful women who previously owned them e.g media personalities, board members and public figures.
The sanitary pads collected are donated to school girls to build their confidence and manage their menstruation with dignity.
Heels4Pads Initiative envisions a day where women and girls do not have to miss a life-changing opportunity and a quality life due to naturally occurring phenomenon as menstruation. We are in the business of confidence-building and advancing gender equality