One in every two women in vulnerable communities in Colombia live in menstrual poverty, with sanitary pad expenses exceeding their daily income by 148%. In addition, the stigma around menstruation and a lack of education causes young women to skip almost 20% of school days.
VMLY&R is addressing both issues with “Proud Legacy,” a sewing studio that is teaching three generations of women to sew their own sanitary pads—with unique health-forward designs—and provide a safe space from menstruation stigma.
The project is a partnership with WaterAid. VMLY&R’s designs for the sanitary pads use fabric patterns with a blood color shade guide to help identify health conditions.
“‘Proud Legacy’ is not just about promoting action but creating a better future,” said Julián Núñez, chief creative officer of VMLY&R Colombia. “By fighting menstrual poverty in Tomarrazon, we are ensuring that every woman has access to their basic menstrual rights and building a foundation for a more equitable and empowered society. With this idea, we are proud of the transformation and changes in women’s life, inspiring their passion that continues working towards a world where everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive.”
“We all have the right to live without fear. Losing the fear of our own body is the first step,” added Natalia León, country director of WaterAid Colombia. “Nothing that naturally happens in our bodies makes us unworthy. Honoring the natural is destiny. Educating ourselves on the subject is the way. Without knowledge, there is fear; with fear, there will never be dignity; without water, there is no freedom. Today we raise our voices in Colombia for a life where our body is respected and being a woman is a source of pride.”