Online British retail giant ASOS is most commonly known for it’s affordable designer garms, vibrant ad campaigns, and free delivery around the world — all of which have helped the brand successfully storm the world of e-commerce fashion. With easy-to-navigate features that bring a scarily immersive experience to the digital arena, it’s hard to imagine that a company like this would also be striving to make the world at large a better place.
Nonetheless, ASOS is now using its name and reputation to advocate a more responsible approach to consumerism. After announcing a collaboration with GLAAD and the launch of a sustainable fashion training program, the ASOS Foundation and SOKO Community Trust are introducing The Kujuwa Initiative.
Translating to “The Knowledge Initiative,” this project has been created to support the young women of Kenya’s Kasigua region, providing health education to those who are often forced to miss school during their menstrual cycles due to a lack of accessible feminine hygiene products. SOKO is a Kenyan clothing manufacturer that has been working alongside ASOS to develop reusable sanitary pads for these women, all of which can be easily washed and have been handmade by local seamstresses. Made from the waste leftovers from ASOS’ “Made In Kenya” collections, these pads come in kits that also contain two pairs of cotton briefs, a bar of soap for cleanliness, an instructional pamphlet, and a waterproof wash bag. Each pad boasts a removable liner and is capable of lasting for an impressive three years.
The kits are currently being distributed to the young women of Kasigua in the hope that they will improve their overall quality of life and allow them to continue their education uninterrupted going forward. The companies also hope that the pads will continue to garner local interest, eventually generating a steady source of income for the members of SOKO’s Stitching Academy in an eco-friendly, humanitarian fashion. On top of all this, the initiative hopes to grant other schools in the region access to the WASH Project, through which toilet facilities and water tanks are set up in the areas most in need of them. These new facilities will come as a big relief to the young women in these schools, many of whom are currently forced to attend to their menstrual care in public due to a lack of restrooms with functioning doors.
900 girls from six schools across Kenya will receive the “Keep It Together (KIT)” bags, which will hopefully help ensure that they are no longer placed at a disadvantage simply for being women. With any luck, the sanitary pads will help these women realize their true potentials and inspire them to create similar products to help out their fellow human beings.