A SHIPMENT of underpants designed to help women in rural India manage their periods discreetly and hygienically is about to leave Bendigo.
Women in some parts of the world cannot engage fully in daily life, La Trobe University student Lauren Drechsler said.
”There are students, for example, who cannot go to school on certain days because there are no public toilets,” she said.
“The system there is very different than the one that exists here, where there is an expectation that when you go to school there is going to be a toilet.”
Fellow student Natalie O’Brien said there were also concerns about the biodegradability of hygiene products in India, where waste systems were not always extensively developed.
A group of La Trobe students called for funds just before Christmas and were overwhelmed by people’s generosity, Ms Drechsler said.
Their GoFundMe campaign raised $3,500 and on Sunday a group of students gathered to pack 150 pairs of Modibodi period underwear for 50 women in the remote tribal area of Pal.
They will also pack surveys and follow up with women after three months to ensure the underwear meets Indian cultural requirements, La Trobe student Jaryd Stobaus said.
“The next stage is the research stage, where we work with women in Pal to see how the Modibodis work there and see if it is a solution, or whether it’s not suitable,” he said.
Ms Drechsler was confident that there would be no unexpected issues with the underpants, given people’s reactions on a November trip to Pal.
The trip was undertaken in conjunction with CERES Global, a group taking Australians overseas explore ways to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place.
More trips are planned, including one later this year.
That trip, which will be made possible through the federal government’s New Colombo Plan Funding, will see a new group of La Trobe students expand work started last November.
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