Ethiopian Freweini Mebrahtu has been named a 2019 CNN Hero
Freweini Mebrahtu, founder of a re-useable sanitary pack explains why she has dedicated her life to providing pads to girls and the difficulties it takes deliver the pads to rural communities.
When Freweini Mebrahtu got her period at age 13, she panicked.
“I was terrified,” she said. “And I remembered (hearing) that it’s actually a curse to have a period … or that it meant I am ready to be married, or (that) I’m being bad.”
Like most girls in northern Ethiopia, she suffered in silence, never mentioning it to her mother or sisters. With no access to sanitary products, she coped by using rags.
Freweini Mebrahtu: It is important to me that this product is made by women, for women. We employ 43 women today, and they take pride in making the best product. It’s also important to help the women to be economically independent, so we provide them with free training, a premium wage, paid vacation and the opportunity to grow. We never hire managers from outside. We like to move them up on the ladder.