Our

Origins and
Objectives

Origins and
Objectives

OUR MISSION

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

OUR VISION

Menstrual equity cannot be achieved through one machine, or even many. Our organization takes a multi-pronged approach to achieving menstrual equity, combining pad machines with community partnerships, sexual and reproductive health education, and domestic advocacy work.

The Pad Project was started in 2013  by a youth-driven community of students and educators convinced that menstruation matters for everyone. We set out to take action with the limited knowledge and resources we had and have grown as students and as an organization in the process. What began as a documentary film project highlighting a single village has expanded to an organization with global reach.

We started as a group of students, along with our teacher, who wanted to expand access to learning.

OUR BEGINNINGS: THE CAMPAIGN

We 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 micro-economy.

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 with 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 women within it.

Meet the team

behind the movement

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President/CEO

Melissa Berton English Teacher, Speaker

CFO

Bob Gatto Vice President of Acquisitions & Business Development, Nestle

COO

Garrett Schiff Writer, Producer

General Board Member

Stacey Sher Film Producer

Secretary

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

OUR STAFF

Melissa Berton Executive Director, Los Angeles

melissaberton@thepadproject.org

Sorelle Cohen Development Associate, Los Angeles

sorelle@thepadproject.org

Gaurav Sharma Global Lead, India

gaurav@thepadproject.org

FOOTNOTES

¹ US Aid calculates if India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, the country’s gross domestic product would rise by $5.5 billion. https://www.usaid.gov/girl/infographic-ripple-effect