By Julia Campbell
Mensadora, and its social mandate program Rebel Rags, is a company that creates reusable menstruation and bladder care pads for local individuals in need.
“I’m starting a Rebellion,” says Sarah Askew, founder of Mensadora. “I’m super open about talking periods, and I will tell anyone who listens all about them. I’m really working at helping others understand that we need to honour our bodies and not be ashamed of them or what they do.”
Having been a single mother trying to put herself through school, Sarah knows the struggles of trying to make ends meet. Often she had to decide between food for her son or pads for herself.
“My mission is to make sure anyone needing pads who cannot afford them gets them in their hands, no questions asked. Our program offers a one for one donation. This allows us to really make a difference in someone’s life. To remove that worry is huge when self-esteem and success often go hand in hand.”
The idea behind Mensadora was sparked during a trip deep into the jungles of the Yutcatan. In an off-grid eco village hours away from any store, Sarah needed to adapt to using reusable pads in order to produce zero waste. During previous travel experience, she learned that many countries use reusable pads. When she returned to Canada, she took a cross-Canada bus trip with her family and listened to the stories of women trying to make ends meet. Sarah realized how much reusable menstruation and bladder care pads could help menstruaters in need, and thus, Mensadora was born.
Currently, Mensadora is creating a program focusing on teaching seventh and eighth graders about period shaming. In the fall, Mensadora will be running a pilot program teaching students how to sew their own set of pads. Those not needing pads can choose to make pads to donate or can join in on other projects.
“Mensadora really covers a huge social area that is lacking the understanding and resources to make the changes we need now,” says Sarah. “We also cover the incredible environmental waste that happens each month as well as the financial strain over a lifetime of periods.”
What’s next for Sarah and Mensadora?
“Besides taking over the world, we are in critical stages of getting out business model really ramped up,” she says. “We have an exciting new reusable line coming out later this year that will really shake up industry standards. Right now we are just trying to get the word out, break the ick stigma that comes with reusable pads and help people understand that this isn’t a bandage, but a real solution to a crisis.”
Sarah appreciates Innovation Works for giving her a space for professional meetings, and has loved her experience with the incubator program. “Being part of the incubator program has allowed me to really connect with people and organizations I would never have thought of. The atmosphere is extremely helpful and supportive.”
Sarah holds her mission to make a difference close to her heart:
“I think for me it’s knowing that everyday I wake up and I have a goal to make one person’s life different. Just one. It’s simple and easy. I do what I do because we are all one breath away from leaving this earth, and I’m making each one of those I have left count.”
When asked if she has anything else she would like to tell to our readers, she had this to say:
“Today might have been hard, lots of roadblocks and dead ends, failures and defeats. I have been there. But I know that what I do is valuable, and I’m sure what you do is valuable too. We need the movers and shakers. The dreamers and the visionaries are how rebellions create history.”
Would you like to work alongside incredible humans like Sarah and others? Consider joining us at Innovation Works!
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