PridePads Africa produces biodegradable, earth friendly and affordable sanitary pads for girls and women in rural Cameroon as well as providing menstrual health education, sensitization and de-stigmatization campaigns surrounding menstruation. Pads are produced locally by and for women, creating livelihood empowerment and entrepreneurial economic opportunities for ordinary Cameroonian girls and women.
Barriers to Education
When our daughters reach adolescence we embrace it. We celebrate it. We support them during this critical time as they navigate their way into womanhood. We hope they realize their potential. We hope they understand they can pursue their dreams. We assume….. we don’t think about menstruation as being a barrier to education but it can be and it is. To thousands of girls throughout Africa and other developing countries this barrier exists. Join PridePads in our mission to empower girls and keep them in school to ensure a brighter future.
Women Who Are Valued
Women who are valued make the difference between a broken community and a thriving one.
We believe that every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to embrace being a woman and contribute in meaningful ways to her community.
PridePads manufactures and distributes biodegradable sanitary pads and provides menstrual health education to rural communities in Cameroon. We want girls to realize their full potential by staying in school and no longer living with the stigmas and taboos attached to menstruation.
When girls receive our biodegradable pads, they are able to stay in school and that gives them choices. They can choose to work. They can choose to marry. They can choose their husband. With equal education girls can thrive.
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
Our Facility in Cameroon
Our facility in Ngaoundere, Cameroon manufactures biodegradable sanitary pads that are free of chorine, dyes, bleach and perfumes. It also serves as a hub for community events to educate the local population about menstrual hygiene and the importance of education for girls.
Professor Ajume Wingo, a Prince from the Kingdom of Nso, was traveling by bus in his homeland of Cameroon, Africa, when he witnessed a young girl being ostracized by fellow travelers when she found herself menstruating for the very first time. Lack of education around menstruation led to this girl's unnecessary humiliation and shame. After coming to her aid and explaining that menstruation is a normal process and nothing to be afraid of, he vowed to do all that he could to ensure that no other girl would experience that shame again.
2007 - 2016
Professor Wingo spent the next decade trying to find a way to make biodegradable pads and the machinery to produce them. He visited several factories to try and learn how to make the pads and even purchased a sewing machine so that he could make sample pads to try. He also tried various different materials including raffia, palm fiber, plantain and banana to see what would have the best absorbency.
2017 - 2018
Professor Wingo meets Co-founders Stephanie Carter, Celeste Carter and Mary Shackelton and they begin working on a plan to form a 501(c)3 in Colorado and an NGO in Cameroon. The team took a trip to Ghana, Africa with their teenage daughters in June of 2018 to visit another facility that Professor Wingo was involved in that was making biodegradable pads and teaching menstrual hygiene education in local schools. During their trip to Ghana they met with local and government officials and learn how to take the necessary steps to form their own NGO in Cameroon.
In November of 2018, co-founders Ajume Wingo, Stephanie Carter and her daughter, Celeste Carter took a trip to Mumbai, India to meet the founders of Aakar Innovations who manufacture sanitary pad machines for developing nations. The team spent several days on the ground learning how the machines worked and figuring out the logistics for purchasing a machine and exporting it to Cameroon.
In February 2019, PridePads Africa, Inc. was formed, and a Board of Directors was assembled. The Board began raising money for the initial expenses of the organization, including the purchase of a sanitary pads machine and the raw materials needed to begin manufacturing the pads. We hired a Director of Operations, Derek Gerleit, and he moved to Cameroon in August of 2019. Derek set up the facility in Ngaoundere and started the necessary work for manufacturing PridePads sanitary pads.
In November 2019, PridePads Africa held their first annual in person fundraiser and raised over $45,000 in donations. Later that month, Co-founders Ajume Wingo, Stephanie Carter and Celeste Carter went to Ngaoundere to visit the facility and meet the women who would be making the pads.
PridePads Africa got its formal 501(c)3 certification issued in December 2019.
In January 2020, sanitary pad production began at our facility in Ngaoundere in the Adamawa region of Cameroon. The team of women working for PridePads Africa begin learning the skills necessary for manufacturing pads, selling them and beginning their own economic empowerment and livelihood sustainability.
Covid-19 pandemic begins and PridePads Africa decides to temporarily suspend the manufacturing of pads until it is safe to resume and they can ensure the health and safety of their employees.
PridePads Africa hires Salamatu Yinyuy, a local Cameroonian woman to be the Director of Ground Operations at our facility in Ngaoundere. Sala is in charge of hiring employees and overseeing the pad manufacturing and menstrual hygiene education programs in Cameroon. Sala has a diverse background in entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and women’s issues. She is also teaching local women how to make beaded jewelry and sandals that will eventually be sold on the PridePads Africa website.
PridePads Africa begins fundraising efforts for 2021 so we will be able to purchase more raw materials from India to ensure the continuation of pad manufacturing and distribution.
Break The Taboo in 2022: Menstruation. Education. De-Stigmatization. A message from PridePads Ambassador Michele Tchindje, Miss Africa USA 2023 Contestant: Every woman deserves a chance. I was born in ...Read more