Mammas Laef empowers women in Vanuatu by providing sustainable menstrual products, creating social enterprise & breaking menstruation taboos
Your donation to Mamma’s Laef Charitable Trust will enable women of all ages to receive, made-in-Vanuatu, reusable sanitary pads which last 3 years; alongside menstrual health education sessions. Your donation will be used in the supply of packs of pads ($25 per pack) for distribution to women of all ages in communities across Vanuatu. Since 2016, Give A Little fundraising has already donated 200 packs.
Many females in Vanuatu are unable to join in daily activities when they are menstruating. Girls stay away from school, women are unable to prepare food for the family and some women are sent to separate houses to rest in, away from the family. Some of the cultural taboos around menstruation make it difficult for women to fully reach their potential. Mamma’s Laef may not be able to change all of those but what we can do is, provide women with dignity during menstruation, by supplying her with environmentally friendly appropriate menstrual products.
Your donation will help us to give ni Vanuatu women access to quality and clean menstrual products. Products which are sustainable, environmentally friendly and being made in their own country, therefore increases economic outcomes too. Locals providing menstrual health education is a gamechanger, empowering women to take control of their lives.
More about us
Mamma’s Laef is the result of a question which was asked by Belinda Roselli (the Founder), in the wake of Cyclone Pam (March 2015). “In times of natural disaster in Vanuatu, what do women use for their monthly period?”
During 6 months of research, the answer became clear; menstrual pads were not easily accessible at any time for many rural living women in Vanuatu, resulting in women of all ages, not being able to fully participate in daily activities. Alongside the lack of menstrual resources, were the cultural taboos and confusing messages about menstrual health.
A partial solution was developed in Vanuatu; a locally managed group who sew reusable sanitary pads, that are cost-effective, convenient, comfortable and eco-friendly. The second important factor was later introduced; during delivery of pads in communities, the Mamma’s Laef team, chatted about menstrual health.
As a result of being awarded recognition in the Frontier Innovators programme in (DFAT) in 2018, Mamma’s Laef Charitable Trust was formed, to formally support the development of Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu (a ni-Vanuatu owned and operated social enterprise, trading as a business). Together the two entities have a VISION to be “Supporting women to control their future”. Our Mission Statement describes how we do this; “Mamma’s Laef empowers women by providing sustainable menstrual products, creating social enterprise, and breaking taboos about menstruation.”
Funds raised by Give A Little are tagged to be used in the supply of packs of pads for distribution to women of all ages in communities across Vanuatu.
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2020 started out well.
January – I took a brief trip to Vanuatu and scheduled a further trip for March. It was while I was travelling back to New Zealand in late January that I first heard of Corona virus and the impact it was having in China.
We all know what happened soon after that. Within days, plans changed for people across the globe.
February – Mary & Jack were accepted into an incubation programme with V-Lab. A wonderful opportunity for their personal and business development.
March – Vanuatu closed it’s borders to all flights on 20th March. Marc-Antoine from V-Lab suggested Mamma’s Laef manufacture reusable face masks. Diversification is key to keeping abreast of the challenges that we were facing.
April – 6th and 7th April saw the unwelcome visit from Cyclone Harold – sweeping through and devastating the central islands of Vanuatu.
May to July – Vanuatu was still COVID free but all focus was on producing products for Cyclone Harold relief efforts by both Vanuatu placed International and local NGO’s. Logistics for those at the front line were difficult, to say the least. The demand for our products was high, but the supply chain was severely disrupted due to non production of factories in China and the long delays in shipping into the Pacific. We stopped production for a while, waiting for much needed supplies.
Discussions started again about the possibility of our Reusable Nappy Pilot happening. We were keen, but needed to consider the country still being in “clean up/ support mode” from TC Harold.
August – Jack travelled with Department of Environment Protection & Conservation to speak with rural and remote communities about the pending disposable baby diaper ban and the alternatives. (Thanks to DEPC for this opportunity).
Production of menstrual pads started again, through a grant from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
September – our Reusable Baby Nappy Pilot starts.
October – working closely with Bambino Mio and SAVVY Vanuatu to capture valuable information to present to Vanuatu government and other interested parties.
November – the first COVID19 positive person arrives in Vanuatu, and our reusable mask production goes into over-drive – giving more women the chance to earn an income for their families.
Time to reflect on our year.
* Developed new products – reusable face masks and reusable baby nappies.
* Shared new products with rural and remote communities.
* Finalised and produced the Men’s TokTok menstrual health education programme.
* Produced a short video about how we want to see the future of the Pacific.
* Commenced links to communities via our Champions model.
* Started a direct sales team in Port Vila and recently expanding to rural communities.
* Our first imports directly from manufacturers of our raw materials.
* Provided more women with short term work.
* Worked alongside other Pacific menstrual health champions to develop better supply chains and to break the taboo of menstruation – Pacific-wide.
For now - it's time for a short rest. Thanks for your supports in 2020. We will welcome 2021.
Mi lukim yu
Belinda & the Vanuatu team
Thank you for kickstarting our 2021 donations off :) We appreciate you thinking of Mammas Laef Vanuatu and the work we will be doing in 2021. Kind regards Belinda & the Vanuatu team.
Thank you for your very generous donation to the Trust. This will give 10 women, packs of Vanuatu-made reusable menstrual pads, when the team are distributing in 2021. Best wishes for this festive season. Kind regards. Belinda & the Vanuatu team
Thank you for your donation. We appreciate you taking the time to think of us and acknowledge the work done in Vanuatu to support women & girls in a practical way. Tank yu tumas.
Thank you both your gift to Mamma's Laef. You know our work well. We appreciate you considering us for your donation. Tank yu tumas fren blo Vanuatu.
Thanks for supporting our work in Vanuatu. As we near the end of 2020, we hope that 2021 will give us more opportunity to get back into communities and distribute menstrual health products and education to women in Vanuatu. Thanks for helping us to make this happen. Tank yu tumas.