The Pad Project’s mission is to create and cultivate local and global partnerships to end period stigma and to empower women worldwide.
OUR STORY: THE CAMPAIGN
The Pad Project was started in 2013 by a youth-driven community of students and educators convinced that menstruation matters for everyone. What began as a documentary film project highlighting a single village has expanded to an organization with global reach.
The idea for the film Period. End of Sentence. began when Melissa Berton took a group of her students to the 2013 Annual Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. There they learned about the issue of girls in developing countries missing or dropping out of school with the onset of menstruation. They also learned about Indian inventor Arunachalam Muruganantham, who created a pad-making machine to produce cheaper and more easily accessible pads for women. They were so inspired by these stories that they decided to shine a spotlight on this issue by funding the placement of a pad machine and making a documentary about its effects.
They raised over $55,000 via two Kickstarter campaigns to create a documentary and fully fund the implementation of a pad machine, including the cost of raw materials and wages, to jumpstart a village microeconomy.
THE FILM: Period. End of Sentence.
We partnered with Action India, a grassroots women’s empowerment organization in India, to identify a community of women and girls who wanted a machine in their village. We worked with Action India staff and the village of Kathikhera to install the machine in 2017. The film, Period. End of Sentence., follows their journey and explores the machine’s impact on the local community and the individual lives of the women within it. In 2019, Period. End of Sentence. won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Meet the team
behind the movement
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Melissa Berton English Teacher, Speaker
Bob Gatto Vice President of Acquisitions & Business Development, Nestle
Garrett Schiff Writer, Producer
General Board Member
Stacey Sher Film Producer
Anissa Siegel Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Artist
General Board Member
Lisa Taback Vice President of Awards & Talent Relations, Netflix
General Board Member
Rayka Zehtabchi Film Director
ADVISORY BOARD: Oakwood High School Graduates
Sophie Aschiem Yale University
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of The Pad Project. A member of the class of 2022 at Yale University, she hopes to major in Global Affairs.
Carly Gatto University of Michigan
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and has been a part of the Pad Project since 2014. She currently studies nursing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor class of 2022.
Natalie Geismar Washington University in Saint Louis
was an associate producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of the Pad Project. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2019, where she earned her B.A. in International Development.
Alden Sabah Scripps College
has been a member of The Pad Project since 2017 and is majoring in Gender Studies at Scripps College, class of 2022.
Ruby Schiff Kenyon College
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of the Pad Project. She double majors in Women & Gender Studies and Psychology at Kenyon College, class of 2021.
Avery Siegel Tulane University
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of The Pad Project. She is majoring in communications and double minoring in Public Health and Social Innovation at Tulane University, class of 2021.
Charlotte Silverman Brown University
was a co-founder and liaison to Action India on the Pad Project, as well as an executive producer on Period. End of Sentence..She studies Visual Arts, Urban Studies, and Gender/Sexuality Studies at Brown University class of 2022.
Claire Sliney University of Pennsylvania
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of The Pad Project. She double majors in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, class of 2021.
Helen Yenser Scripps ‘17, University of Southern California MFA ‘19, Cinematic Arts
was an executive producer on the film, Period. End of Sentence., and a founding member of The Pad Project. Now a graduate of Scripps College, where she earned her B.A. in Honors English, and a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she earned her M.F.A. in Writing for Film & Television, Helen writes about women whose self-transformation challenges society to change.
YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD: Current Oakwood Students
Dorothea ‘21, Lila ’21, Maia ‘21, Mason ‘21, Alex ‘21, Emma ‘22, Maggie ‘22, Naomi L. ‘22, Naomi Z.’22