Origins and

Origins and
Our Team


The Pad Project’s mission is to create and cultivate local and global partnerships to end period stigma and to empower women and all menstruators worldwide.


The Pad Project’s pad machines and washable cloth pad programs utilize a social enterprise model. Instead of simply distributing products, these programs employ women to run their own businesses by making and selling menstrual pads. Our programs also involve implementing menstrual hygiene management workshops, all of which are created and run by our nonprofit partners to fit the needs of their community members.


The Pad Project isn’t alone in the fight for menstrual equity. We partner with domestic and international nonprofits to make sure our programs fit the individual menstrual hygiene needs of each community where we work. We also founded the Ambassador Program to connect and engage menstrual equity activists around the globe.


The Pad Project believes that educating people about menstruation is a necessary part of the menstrual equity movement. We created the documentary Period. End of Sentence. to raise awareness about period poverty, and we’ve included menstrual hygiene management education as a key component in all of our international programs. We are also committed to using education to debunk myths about menstruation and combat menstrual stigma around the world.


Lack of access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products is a global problem. The Pad Project learns from our NGO partners and then funds a variety of programming to meet the access needs of different individuals and communities. Our goal is to help each community provide adequate menstrual health to menstruators, which, according to Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, requires “complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.”


Not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women. At The Pad Project, we are dedicated to supporting all menstruators, and we want to make sure our fight for menstrual equity is gender inclusive. We use the term “menstruators” to refer to all people who experience menstruation, including cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals. However, we as an organization are still learning and growing, and we welcome all feedback. If you see a way for us to be more inclusive, let us know at info@thepadproject.org!

Hands making pad for girls


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. In 2019, that documentary film, Period. End of Sentence., won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, and since then, The Pad Project has continued to grow.

We’ve placed 9 pad machines in 2 countries and are working to place 7 more pad machines in 4 countries. We’ve launched 8 washable pad programs in 6 countries and are working to launch another washable pad program soon! In the U.S., we’ve started two programs to combat period poverty: Pads for All and Pads for Schools. So far, we’ve partnered with 10 NGOs and grassroots organizations in 8 states and 5 schools and school districts in 4 states to provide menstrual products to those in need. We also launched The Pad Project’s Ambassador Program, which is designed to unite menstrual equity activists around the world!

Meet the team

behind the movement


Melissa Berton

Co-Founder/Executive Director

Los Angeles, CA

Sorelle Cohen

Director of Development, Marketing & Communications

Los Angeles, CA

Rachel Wilson

Associate Director of Domestic Programs

Los Angeles, CA

Nicolette Harutunian

Education Programs Manager

Los Angeles, CA

Tanya Mahajan

Director of International Programs

New Delhi, India


Executive Director

Melissa Berton English Teacher, Writer, Speaker


Bob Gatto Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Business Development, Nestle


Garrett Schiff Writer, Producer


Anissa Siegel Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Artist

General Board Member

Bonnie Abaunza Social Impact Producer, Human Rights Activist

General Board Member

Dr. Tamyra Comeaux M.D.

General Board Member

Nicole Sharma Jain Education Policy Advocate and Advisor

General Board Member

Stacey Sher Film Producer

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  Strategic Partnerships Coordinator, 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 Community Outreach and Social Media Coordinator, 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 Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, 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