Harry and Meghan: Don't send gifts, buy sanitary pads for Indian women

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ditched the traditional wedding gift registry. Instead, they're suggesting people...

Posted: May 17, 2018 7:59 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 7:59 PM

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ditched the traditional wedding gift registry. Instead, they're suggesting people donate to a charity that makes affordable sanitary pads for women in India.

The couple has asked for donations to a handful of charities instead of presents for their wedding in Windsor on Saturday, and the Mumbai-based Myna Mahila Foundation is the only foreign organization they have picked.

The charity aims to improve access to sanitary protection for women living in Mumbai's slums, providing them with pads that are both affordable and hygienic.

"[Menstruation] is a very natural body process, but still remains a big taboo in India," said Sumati Joshi, the founder of the charity. Grocery stores are often staffed by men, meaning women are ashamed to buy sanitary products.

That's where Myna steps in. The charity employs 15 local women to make the pads, providing them with stable and safe work, while busting myths and taboos. Another 50 women distribute the pads in the slums.

"[We] go door to door educating women and also giving them access to the products at a very subsidized rate," she added.

Related: Will the Royal Wedding boost the UK economy?

It's a big task: According to the India National Family Health Survey, more than 40% of Indian women aged 15 to 24 do not have access to sanitary products during their period.

Instead, they resort to using rags, old clothes, newspapers, hay, sand, or even ash, according to Unicef and other aid organizations.

Because of the stigma associated with menstruation, women are often ashamed to wash and dry the rags and clothes properly. Stored in damp, dark conditions, the materials become breeding grounds for bacteria, spreading diseases and infections.

Royal wedding: How much will it cost?

The taboos are persistent. Research sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that 71% of girls in India have no knowledge of menstruation before their first period, which leads to distress and shame.

Women are often not allowed to enter places of worship or touch food while on their periods.

Myna said it has manufactured 500,000 pads over the past two years, converting 3,000 women across 15 slums to using sanitary pads.

Joshi will attend the royal wedding, along with one of the charity's volunteers and two local women from Mumbai. While in London, they will host a fundraiser for the charity.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 448268

Reported Deaths: 6013
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin931011480
Ramsey40016739
Dakota33072340
Anoka30999364
Washington20164228
Stearns17871187
St. Louis13690241
Scott1195496
Wright11614104
Olmsted1048475
Sherburne821365
Carver694836
Clay653280
Rice606868
Kandiyohi554371
Blue Earth541033
Crow Wing482774
Otter Tail457167
Chisago452732
Benton420186
Winona389646
Douglas374166
Nobles370846
Mower365529
Goodhue347958
Polk328658
McLeod325345
Morrison311744
Beltrami310347
Lyon302236
Becker284939
Itasca284543
Isanti282841
Carlton280043
Steele27379
Pine266713
Freeborn245321
Todd231730
Nicollet224636
Brown215134
Mille Lacs214246
Le Sueur210015
Cass207623
Meeker199733
Waseca189316
Wabasha17083
Martin170026
Roseau165416
Hubbard149338
Redwood139727
Renville137539
Houston135913
Dodge13474
Chippewa131332
Cottonwood127218
Fillmore12355
Wadena120116
Rock110212
Sibley10857
Aitkin108433
Watonwan10668
Faribault105916
Pennington99215
Kanabec97818
Pipestone94423
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85610
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70215
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63715
Wilkin6259
Koochiching59610
Lincoln4841
Big Stone4573
Unassigned43768
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3174
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 305606

Reported Deaths: 4278
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45754449
Linn17795275
Scott15444163
Black Hawk13773236
Woodbury13016175
Johnson1211749
Dubuque11387150
Pottawattamie8992112
Dallas888671
Story869434
Webster469771
Cerro Gordo466768
Sioux455157
Clinton450361
Warren443938
Marshall427761
Buena Vista393429
Muscatine390477
Des Moines381841
Plymouth350368
Wapello344198
Jasper321959
Lee317130
Marion304952
Jones271349
Henry264330
Carroll255434
Bremer245048
Crawford231022
Boone218417
Washington217632
Benton209444
Mahaska193136
Jackson192031
Tama187757
Dickinson186026
Delaware173736
Kossuth173644
Clay168820
Wright164824
Fayette162322
Hamilton160029
Buchanan159923
Winneshiek155719
Harrison155162
Hardin154729
Cedar153219
Clayton151448
Butler148224
Page144715
Floyd139636
Cherokee139027
Mills136416
Lyon135332
Poweshiek132724
Hancock130224
Allamakee127928
Iowa125422
Calhoun12279
Grundy121226
Jefferson120724
Madison12039
Winnebago119429
Mitchell116234
Louisa115030
Cass113341
Chickasaw111612
Sac111215
Emmet110831
Appanoose110538
Union108822
Humboldt105519
Guthrie103024
Shelby102926
Franklin102418
Unassigned9310
Palo Alto9079
Montgomery85622
Keokuk85026
Howard84219
Monroe81218
Clarke7957
Pocahontas77611
Ida74630
Greene6927
Davis69121
Adair68820
Lucas6508
Monona64016
Osceola6409
Worth6113
Taylor5949
Fremont5126
Van Buren49712
Decatur4894
Ringgold4389
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2963
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: 27°
Mason City
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 0°
Feels Like: 28°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: -1°
Feels Like: 29°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 26°
A roller coaster of temperatures
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Catholic Presidency

Image

Bringing Urban Agriculture To DMC

Image

First Facility In Mower County To Receive Vaccine

Image

Inauguration Day In Class

Image

Iowa Lawmakers working together

Image

Olmsted County Covid Relief Funds

Image

DMC Diverse workforce

Image

Cerro Gordo County Democrats Zoom Inauguration

Image

Kamala Harris Inspiration

Image

Local Lawmakers on Inauguration

Community Events