KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 – KAO Laurier Malaysia, supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, and in collaboration with MyPerintis, has raised RM150,000 worth of sanitary napkins to benefit 20,000 B40 students in 20 public universities across Malaysia.
The effort was coordinated through the three-month-long Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita (Menstrual Hygiene is a Woman’s Right) campaign initiated in November 2021, which culminated in an official handover ceremony at University of Malaya yesterday.
“The synergy between KAO Laurier, the Ministry Of Higher Education and MyPerintis has been essential in realising the campaign’s vision to address any lack in access to menstrual hygiene essentials faced by young women in universities,” said Itou Hirofumi, KAO Laurier Malaysia president.
“Access to feminine hygiene products is a basic necessity. B40 female university students are suffering in silence due to period poverty. So this is a wonderful initiative by KAO Laurier and MyPerintis to educate the community and highlight the feminine hygiene needs of girls and women from B40 households,” said Hema Shankari Kalidasan, University of Malaya Students’ Union representative.
“Anyone and everyone can play a part in eradicating period poverty. We hope that by working together, we will see an end to period poverty,” she added.
Hirofumi presented the official handover of RM150,000 in sanitary napkins to Hema.
Following the handover ceremony, EMIR Research’s Amanda Yeo moderated a discussion on period poverty with panel members comprising Tan Poh Ling, KAO Laurier Malaysia vice-president of marketing, Lawrence Low MyPerintis founding chairman, and Sweet Qismina, Laurier Night Safe brand ambassador.
The discussion revealed that loss of employment or reduced incomes in B40 households have forced families to prioritise putting food on the table, often causing feminine hygiene essentials to be pushed to the bottom of the list.
“I learned about period poverty by participating in this campaign,” said Qismina. “This is how I found out some people cannot afford to buy sanitary pads, some use the same one for the whole day, while others use newspapers or toilet paper instead.”
The panel also deliberated on the sensitivity of the issue, noting that it often posed a challenge for girls and women to talk about what they go through every month.
“The industry has a role to play in educating the public about menstruation issues so that the topic, which is considered delicate and sensitive, does not remain taboo,” said Tan.
“It’s not just about promoting a brand, it’s about long-term commitment to the community. This is not a one-time initiative.”
Qismina pointed out that there are girls who start getting their periods while in primary school, and are too embarrassed to ask their teachers about it.
“People shouldn’t be ashamed. The mindset is that menstruation is something that should not be shared,” she said.
“We need to get rid of this stigma. For me, having your period is not a hindrance to performing your daily routine,” she added.
KAO Laurier Malaysia mooted the Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita campaign to fulfil the hygiene care needs of university students from the B40 community.
It aims to ensure that young women will never have to skip classes or miss activities because they cannot afford sanitary products.
Through the campaign, KAO Laurier Malaysia has pledged to donate one pack from its Laurier Night Safe range for every pack purchased by consumers between November 15, 2021 to January 31, 2022.
This has resulted in the accumulation of sanitary products valued at RM150,000.
The campaign is an extension of its 27-year Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programme that began in 1994 with primary and secondary schools, and has now evolved to address the needs of students in higher education institutions across Malaysia.