Roslyn Campbell was happy to spend the day making a vagina costume with a borrowed sewing machine; it was a nice break from packing and posting orders.
Campbell is the founder and one-woman show behind the social-enterprise business Tsuno. It sells sustainable, natural-fibre bamboo sanitary pads and donates 50 per cent of its profits to One Girl, a charity that educates girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone. Last year Campbell donated $4200.
According to One Girl “a girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to go to high school”.
One of the reasons – among many – that girls in Sierra Leone don’t attend school is not having the right products to manage their periods. And the methods they often must use (dirty rags, kitchen sponges, newspaper, leaves, bark) cause health problems that can keep girls out of school for up to 12 weeks a year. Often it’s also the stigma of menstruating that keeps girls at home and out of classrooms. One Girl’s Launchpad program works with communities to educate women about menstrual hygiene and to set women up to sell affordable, biodegradable sanitary pads to women and girls in their communities.
Campbell started Tsuno two years ago when she came across One Girl and the work it does. “I have seen them start from selling a box of chocolates to getting thousands of people on board on their mission to educate one million girls by 2020,” says Campbell.
Part of what Campbell has always done with Tsuno is to smash the stigma around periods. She did it with the Shark Week exhibition she curated in January. Now the menstrual mover and shaker is doing it again with her new Pozible campaign and the video she has created to promote it.
The vagina costume Campbell made features in a short video (of a vagina with a Scottish accent) she made with comedian Hannah Marlaski (“She was pretending to be this vagina after I’d met her for 15 minutes”) for Tsuno’s new Pozible campaign to fund the addition of organic cotton tampons to the Tsuno range.
“Now someone has pledged for a costume on the campaign, so I have to make another one,” says Campbell.
If the Pozible campaign is successful, the tampons will be made at a factory that is the second-largest producer of tampons in the world; it already makes brands available in Australia and the US. “I feel really good knowing they’ve been on the market for a long time. And they’re safe.”
The campaign hopes to raise only enough for the minimum order of tampons. It has currently raised $30,912 of its $45,000 target.
For those who want to contribute but don’t need or want tampons themselves, the Pozible campaign comes with the option to pre-order tampons that will go to asylum seekers and homeless people in Australia.
Contributors can donate a box of tampons to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Share The Dignity or Essentials for Women South Australia, and Tsuno will match those donations (that works out to $7 for two boxes).
You can contribute to Tsuno’s latest Pozible campaign to add organic cotton tampons to its range here. The campaign ends on November 15.
Article updated on November 7, 2016.