This device making menstruation safer for girls living in poverty.
Image by Mariko Higaki Iwai.

For girls living in extreme poverty around the globe, getting their periods can be a particularly trying ordeal.

Inaccessible or unaffordable sanitary items mean that many young women are left using and reusing menstrual pads over and over again — a process that can be both time-consuming and, particularly, unhygienic.

What’s more, the inability to access affordable feminine sanitary products has ramifications far beyond hygiene. Stigmas against menstruation, coupled with fears over the unreliability of insufficiently cleaned pads, lead some girls in impoverished rural communities to simply sequester themselves at home during their periods, or even drop out of school entirely.


With this in mind, a team of students from the Art Center College of Design has created “Flo,” a multi-purpose device that allows women living in poverty to more effectively clean, dry, and carry around their reusable menstrual pads, thereby making periods safer, and less disruptive to their lives.

As co-creator Mariko Higaki Iwai explains, Flo went through a number of testing iterations based on data provided by fieldwork done by the Nike Foundation and Fuseproject, before arriving at its final design.

On its website, the James Dyson Foundation zeroes in on what makes Flo so powerful a tool:

Girls will have access to dry, clean pads that can reduce illness and will be more comfortable, both physically, and emotionally. Girls will be able to work around their menstrual cycle and be in control. By having control over their menstrual cycle, girls do not have to give up on their dreams and can be empowered to pursue what she wants to become.

Flo, reports Business Insider, has already been selected as a top prize winner at the 2016 International Design Excellence Awards. Students from the Yale School of Management are working to develop a roll-out plan for the product, with Flo expected to retail for under $3.

This article originally appeared on GOOD.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.