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Student Pad Project making a difference for women across the globe | Penn State University

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University Park, Pennsylvania-The Pennsylvania State Student Organization, founded by two Shrell scholars, is helping to improve menstrual health on the other side of the world.

It was launched in 2019 by Philip Ratnasamy and Katelyn Rudisill, then sophomores, and opened the first sanitary napkin production base in southern India in January.

With the help of the registered non-profit organization Praise Foundation, the Student Pad Project has raised more than $10,000 and used it to fund the site (located in the Irula tribal area east of Bangalore) and will provide support until the site is self-sufficient until. The next few months.

Ratnasamy and Rudisill, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Eberly College of Science, were inspired and watched the documentary "Period." ", thus establishing the organization. The end of the sentence" is followed by a group of women in Hapur, India. They are using machines that make sanitary pads and also dealing with the country’s taboos on menstruation. When they disseminate information and work from registered student organizations The students discovered that these taboos are not unique to India.

"Although we know this is a serious problem and we want to have an impact, unfortunately, even in the United States, the idea of ​​women's health and feminine hygiene is a taboo topic," said student chair chair Ratnasamy (Ratnasamy) project. People don't like to talk about it. This is also a problem that most people in the United States do not know about its existence or the extent to which it exists. "

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, India accounts for 27% of the world’s deaths from cervical cancer, almost twice the global average. A national family health survey estimated that only 36% of menstruating women nationwide use sanitary napkins, and the coronavirus pandemic has prevented young women from going to school.

The Student Pad project also includes a plan to provide educational resources for women who will operate the machine and others in the area.

Rudisill, the organization's vice president, said: "Merely providing personnel supplies does not really solve the problem." "You have to educate them."

Ratnasamy and Rudisill joined the organization with four other students from Pennsylvania State University who were interested in medicine, and by advertising on social media and participating in exhibitions, the group eventually increased to about twenty members. It takes some time to find an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) partner they can trust-Ratnasamy’s cousin Sanjana Kapoor is the founder and president of the Praise Foundation-they have raised funds in a variety of ways, including direct mail to donors, A virtual bingo night, and a virtual green screen dinner, raised more than $1,500 in 30 minutes. The organization plans to raise funds for other locations.

Rudisill plans to continue attending medical school after graduation this spring. She said her experience in the Student Pad Project inspired her to work globally as a doctor.

Rudy Hill said: "It gives you a view of your life in the United States." "Just because you can't see the problem, it doesn't mean it won't affect people in other countries."

One of Ratnasamy's most gratifying moments was at the opening ceremony of the production site (held by Zoom). The students in the group were able to meet and, with the help of translators, talk to some of the women who now run the website.

Ratna Sami said: "They (women) are very happy to have this opportunity. They have been talking about how they developed a grand plan for the site, and hope to grow it and use it to achieve a sustainable positive in their lives. Variety."

"In the foreseeable future, seeing the original idea of ​​(born) in the dormitory will affect the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people. This is my time at Penn State University. I will always take it away. I hope The future leaders of the club will also experience this."

The Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence through integrity, building a global perspective, and creating opportunities for leadership and citizen participation. The Schreyer Honorary Scholar has nearly 2,000 students in University Park and 20 Commonwealth campuses, representing 38 states and 27 countries/regions, respectively. Since 1980, more than 15,000 scholars have graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honors.

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