Student Began Sewing Sanitary Pads for Refugees, Now Leads 1,000 Global Volunteers

Ella Lambert learned to sew by watching YouTube tutorials during the pandemic, and she now runs a global network of 1,000 volunteers who sew sanitary products for refugees.

21-year-old University of Bristol student, Ella Lambert, taught herself how to sew by watching YouTube videos during the beginning of the pandemic. She has since launched Pachamama Project, a volunteer-run non-profit that is fighting period poverty. Pachamama Project is named after the goddess of fertility, Pachamama, a figure revered by the indigenous people of the Andes.

Lambert is studying languages and is from Chelmsford in Essex, located in the eastern region of England. She established the non-profit in August of last year with her friend Oliwia Geisler.

Lambert wanted to work in refugee camps abroad in summer 2020, but coronavirus restrictions forced her to stay home. So, instead, she began sewing sustainable period products for women. Since then, more than 30,000 pads have been made, including a discreet matching pouch — all made from donated materials. Lambert has brought in more than 1,000 volunteers across the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and the U.S. 

Having experienced painful periods herself, Lambert hopes to break the stigma associated with talking about women’s’ menstrual cycles.

“I’ve always really struggled with period pain, like absolutely atrocious period pain which would mean that I’d have to miss out on school and cancel plans last minute,” she told PA News. “So although I’ve been really lucky, and I’ve never had to experience period poverty as such, I do know what it’s like to have to miss out on really important things and appointments because of my period.

“This seemed like a really easy way of combatting period poverty and making sure that people didn’t have to deal with that because they had the products they needed that would last.”

Image source: NewsChain