the gift of a worry-free period
In Persian, Hindi and Urdu, Asan means easy or worry-free. Asan was founded on the belief that no one — wherever they are in the world — should ever have to worry about access to safe and high-quality period care.
what is period poverty?
It is estimated that half of all women and girls living in developing countries cannot afford any type of period product. They have no choice but to use cloth rags, paper and sand to manage their periods, which lead to recurrent infections.
This prevents them from participating in essential daily activities — like going to school and to work.
Asan believes that — just like access to food, education and a safe place to call home — access to period care is a fundamental human right. This is why we created our 1-for-1 donation scheme.
what is asan's 1-for-1 donation scheme?
For every menstrual cup that you purchase, we donate one for free to a person in India who cannot afford period products. All our donations are accompanied by education workshops about menstrual health, and extensive training on how to use the cup. We work closely with our donation users to ensure that they have a comfortable experience using the cup and have access to the resources that they need for a safe period.
what is wrong with home-made period solutions such as cloth rags?
In principle, there is nothing wrong with home-made solutions such as clean, breathable cloth. But in practice, cleaning and drying cloth rags can be a major challenge. Taboos around menstruation make it difficult to hang period cloths to dry outdoors. This leads to repeated use of damp cloths, which are a breeding ground for bacteria. Other solutions such as paper and low-quality sanitary pads can be extremely uncomfortable as they cause chafing, rashes and leaks.
why is the asan menstrual cup the best solution for those who suffer from period poverty?
Our donation users describe the Asan menstrual cups as a truly life-changing gift. In their own words, here are some reasons why they love the cup:
- It’s a money-saver: For those who currently spend on low-cost sanitary pads, savings can add up to hundreds of dollars over a 5-year period. This money can be instead spent on other essentials, such as healthcare and education.
- It’s comfortable and leak-proof: This is the reason we hear most often. The cup is so comfortable that it makes our users forget that they are on their period. Essential activities like school and work — which used to be a real challenge during the menstrual period — are now a breeze.
- It can be worn for 12 hours: Both cloths and pads must be changed every few hours, which is especially difficult for those who cannot access clean toilets during their work or school day. As the cup can be worn for up to 12 hours, users can wait to get home before emptying it out.
- Discreet: The cup is small and can easily be stored in private. There is nothing to dispose of or to hang out to dry in public spaces. No one except our users know when they’re menstruating — which is hugely liberating in communities where periods are taboo.
- Better health: Those who switch from rags to the cup experience a reduction in painful and disabling infections, such as UTIs and reproductive tract infections.
what if donation users do not have access to a clean water supply?
Access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and is also integral to having a safe and hygienic period. Our cup requires a small amount of clean water to sanitise it (similar to that used for making tea). To minimise risk of infection, we currently only work in those rural areas where there is a sufficient clean water supply to safely use and sanitise the cup. We also provide our users with in-depth training regarding the sanitisation process.
is there any difference between the cups that are purchased and donated?
There is no difference. We are committed to everyone — irrespective of their background — receiving the highest quality period product. All our cups go through the same rigorous product quality checks. In addition to the cup and storage pouch, our donation users are given a user manual that is translated into their language of choice.
how does asan select who it gives to?
We partner with some of India’s most trusted women’s NGOs to distribute the Asan cup. Our donation partners have decades of experience working with women’s groups, and play a central role in educating our users about how to use the cup. In all our donations, we prioritise those who experience difficulty accessing safe and affordable period care.
how and when does asan make donations?
Asan conducts donation drives at the end of every quarter (three-month period). We total the number of Asan menstrual cups purchased globally, and then match this number with an equal number of donations. This process enables us to donate in greater volumes, which makes it easy for our NGO partners to distribute cups and organise education workshops.
what about the impact of covid-19?
The covid-19 pandemic has made it harder to access period products, as well as important information and education relating to menstrual health. Lockdowns have disrupted supply-chains for pads and tampons. In countries such as India where schools are responsible for distributing sanitary pads, young girls have suffered when schools have closed. Many families are also going through added financial stress.
The pandemic has taught us that it is now more important than ever to solve the challenge of period poverty. In addition to our 1-for-1 donation scheme, we are also stepping up efforts to provide Asan menstrual cups to frontline and healthcare workers who could benefit from our product.