Menstrual cup donations
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 lower-income countries don’t have access to safe period care. The only options available to them is cloth rags, paper or leaves, which lead to recurrent infections. This not only causes stress and anxiety around periods, but also 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 programme.
what is asan's 1-for-1 donation scheme?
For every menstrual cup that you purchase on our website, we donate one to a person in India who doesn’t have access to safe and high quality period care. All our donations are accompanied by education sessions about menstrual health, and extensive training on how to use the Asan cup.
We work closely with rural communities to ensure that they have a comfortable experience using the cup and have access to the resources and support that they may need for a safe and worry-free 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 experience period poverty?
Our rural 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 10-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.
- It allows for privacy: 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.
To learn more about why rural users find the Asan cup beneficial, read this detailed case study on how Asan ended period poverty across 36 villages in Karnataka.
what if rural 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 the risk of infection, we work in those rural areas where there is a sufficient clean water supply to safely use and sterilise the cup. We also provide our users with in-depth training regarding the sterilisation 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 socio-economic 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 rural 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-led NGOs to distribute the Asan cup. Our NGO partners have decades of experience working with women and girls, and play a central role in bringing the Asan cup to rural communities.
Through Asan’s ‘train-the-trainer’ model, we provide NGO staff with expertise, resources and support to provide menstrual health education and distribute Asan cups in the communities where they work. In all our donations, we prioritise those who experience difficulty accessing safe and high quality period care.
how does asan measure the impact of the 1-for-1 donations programme?
At Asan, it is very important to us that every person who chooses to take a cup after the educational sessions has a good experience with it.
That is why we work closely with our NGO partners to conduct detailed focus groups and interviews in the 3 to 6 months after a distribution session has been conducted. This enables us to understand the adoption of the Asan cup and how it has impacted the users’ lives.
can i get involved with asan's social impact work?
At Asan we believe that any effort to provide safe and sustainable periods goes a long way. That’s why we have designed the Asan Ambassador Programme - where we will enable you to conduct menstrual health education and distribute Asan cups in your local community.