The Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory makes effective menstrual pads that are low cost, environmentally friendly, washable and reusable.
The Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory was founded in 2009 by Freweini Mabrahtu, an Ethiopian woman with a bold vision. Growing up in Ethiopia, Freweini went through puberty and young adulthood without access to sanitary supplies. She remembers missing school, being isolated and embarrassed at home, and seeing the same thing happen to her friends.
After receiving a degree in chemical engineering from Prairie View A&M University, Freweini lived for more than a decade in the United States as a successful businesswomen. But during a visit to her homeland, Freweini saw that girls were living through the same difficulties she had experienced as a child. There were no sanitary pads for girls, and no one was helping or even talking about what is considered an embarrassing problem. Determined to help, Freweini returned to Ethiopia and started Mariam Seba, named after her own daughter.
Six years later, the factory employs nearly 50 local women which produces much-needed income and benefits that are vital to their families. The factory produces approximately 600,000 pads per year for girls and women across East Africa. But the unmet need remains enormous. Donor funds are critical to reach hundreds of thousands more Ethiopian girls who are eager to stay in school free of fear and embarrassment.