When we first learned about the unthinkable conditions many girls and women in the world face when it comes to their personal hygiene, we were heartbroken. The Unconquered Project was born from a longing to help in any way we could.
The name ‘Unconquered’ comes from the Hindi word ‘Aparajita’. The girls in India chose this as the name for their sanitary product – and we think it is a fabulous descriptor for the project!
We believe in the generosity, dignity, beauty, creativity and wonder of womanhood all around the world. We affirm that no female should be ashamed or shamed for menstruating; that no girl should have to miss school because she has her period. All women have the right to menstrual education and safe, affordable menstrual hydra products and practices.
70% of girls across India say that they had no knowledge of menstruation before it started.
According to a study reported in the India Times newspaper, around 70% of India’s 355 million menstruating girls and women cannot afford to purchase and use hygienic sanitary products. Instead, they resort to unhygienic methods of absorption – like ashes, husks, sand or old rags – resulting in a much higher rate of urinary tract and reproductive tract infections. Cultural and religious taboos maintain a silence around menstrual awareness. About 23% of girls in India drop out of school after they start menstruating. If they stay in school, lack of access to menstrual products means they can miss up to 50 days of school per year. Two thirds of rural households do not have access to a toilet, making open defecation part of their everyday life. This forces girls and women to also manage their periods in open fields, not having the dignity of privacy or the safety of adequate facilities. For many of us around the world, this kind of unhygienic sanitary management is unthinkable. For millions of women in India, it is unavoidable.