This January, women in Ecuador will get to use pads handcrafted by students at Miami University.

Miami’s chapter of Medlife will meet in Armstrong tonight to sew reusable pads as part of the Pads for a Purpose project.

Medlife is a national organization dedicated to providing medicine, education and development for low income families both locally and globally.

Miami’s club got the idea for the project from a group of students at another university and was inspired to make them last year for a trip they took to Tanzania. The project was a success, making over a hundred pads, so they decided to continue it this year as well.

At the event, people will be given a kit with all the materials they need to make a single pad, including cotton and different layers of fabric.

“We’ll kind of layer them in the way that they need to be sown,” Ellie Sidler, Medlife president, said. “Then, once they kind of sew all the way around the edge of the pad, they kind of flip them out and stuff the cotton inside.”

Some of the Medlife students will take the finished pads on their upcoming trip to Ecuador this J-Term.

While the project is organized by Medlife, the Women’s Center is providing financial support to buy materials.

“I’m just so glad that medlife is doing this project,” Rhonda Jackson, administration assistant at the Women’s Center, said. “I think it’s an amazing project. I think it’s a project that engages students in a very ethereal creative way but also serves an amazing need … The work they’re doing is so essential in creating a better world and to advocate for the young girls and women.”  

Medlife began this initiative because of the conditions women have to endure while on their period, especially in developing countries.

Stephanie Schmitt, secretary of Medlife, said oftentimes in certain countries, women are forced to sit in their houses by themselves for a week every month and are not allowed to come into contact with others or even to go to school, which puts them extremely behind in their education.

“I think periods are taboo in our country, but in other countries it’s basically unspeakable,”  Schmitt said. “It’s hard enough already in Tanzania and other places where women are sort of oppressed, and you take something like this that’s so unspeakable, and they can’t even go to school … They don’t have any feminine products.”

Last year the project only allowed women to participate, but this year, the men on the executive board of Medlife questioned why they were not allowed to join, leading the event to be opened to everyone.

“We were all just kind of like ‘Why didn’t guys go?’ ‘Why not?’” junior Harley Vossler said. “I don’t have a problem doing it, so now we’re like of course everybody come do it. It’s kind of silly not to. There’s just such a bigger purpose. We’re all adults. We should be really focused on what we’re doing and how we’re helping people.”

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