February 14, 2020

The Pad Project, One Year Later

This past Sunday, as many in the Oakwood community tuned in to watch the 2020 Oscars, we fondly remembered the anticipation and excitement of last year’s Academy Awards when Period. End of Sentence. took home the award for Best Documentary Short. Seeing English teacher Melissa Berton and four Oakwood alums (representing the many students who have contributed to this project), along with director Rayka Zehtabchi, spreading their message of menstrual equity from the awards stage to millions of viewers was inspiring to us all.

The impact that The Pad Project is having on women all over the globe is what this is all about. And, we are very proud that more women are getting their own agency and that menstruation is not the stigma that it has been in the past.

Melissa Berton

Since that night, The Pad Project, the nonprofit organization supporting a global movement to end the stigma around menstruation, has grown in incredible ways. When Oakwood students created The Pad Project almost 7 years ago, the current level of impact their partnerships, outreach, and advocacy work has had could not have been imagined.

According to Melissa, The Pad Project has received contributions from all over the world during this past year. They have been contacted by people from over 95 countries and 42 U.S. states, all interested in creating partnerships to fund sanitary pad machines, menstrual educational workshops, and sewing kits to make reusable cloth pads. They expanded their work in Kathikhera, the village featured in Period. End of Sentence. and embarked upon new partnerships with communities in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and throughout India. They participated in rallies for the first-ever National Period Day, and spoke at dozens of presentations and screenings. Period. End of Sentence. has also now been streamed millions of times in over 190 countries around the world.

According to alumna Claire Sliney ’17, “Period. End of Sentence. broke cultural barriers and challenged menstrual taboos by starting a conversation. When we won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short it was exciting in its own right, but that moment also catalyzed a movement, amplifying the message of the documentary on a global stage. It brought periods into the media spotlight and got people talking openly with their peers, in large forums, and on social media about menstruation—only further destigmatizing the topic.”

The members of The Pad Project consider this work to be far from over and continue to raise funds to purchase, install, and operate pad machines. Their efforts also seek to fund Menstrual Health Management workshops, and they continue to spread the message of menstrual equity far and wide through screenings of the film, student advocacy programs, and maintaining close working relationships with NGO partners.

For more recent news, watch the video below from ABC News in San Diego, and check out this article about Oakwood Alum Ruby Schiff ’17 from CBS 6 in Ohio.