Founder & CEO of Gift Wellness, Dr Zareen Roohi Ahmed shares the answers to the three most common questions that she get asked about Gift Wellness:
Firstly, What made me start up Gift Wellness?
The inspiration behind Gift Wellness is my daughter Halimah. You could say that this is a mother and daughter story. From a young age Halimah was passionate about charity work. And she made me promise that when she grew up, that we would do charity work together. Tragically, Halimah passed away shortly after her 19th birthday, 6 weeks after starting her degree in International Relations and Third World Development. After the tragedy, we set up a charity to do Halimah’s work. (www.halimahtrust.org.uk)
And for the next 3 years I channelled all my energy into our first project, to build a school for 400 orphaned and needy girls in Pakistan. Which was inaugurated in April 2011. It was when I was on the way back from Pakistan after the opening of this school, that I was sitting in the airport lounge in Lahore, thinking about what I should do next. I knew I would never work for anyone again and whatever I did, it needed to link with the charity. So sitting in this airport lounge, I picked up a magazine, Time mag I think… and it opened at an article about Syrian women in refugee camps who had to tear strips off their clothes to use as sanitary pads… in addition to all the other horrific abuse they had to suffer.
At that moment, I visualised myself giving sanitary pads to these women. And that’s when the Gift Wellness journey began…
The 2nd question I’m always asked is, What’s the difference between ordinary high-street pads and Gift pads?
So the two aims of Gift Wellness were:
Firstly as I just said, to support women who can’t access or afford sanitary pads by donating pads to them. The second aim was to provide a non-toxic alternative to the sanitary pads in the high street that are made of all kinds of nasties and make us feel much worse than we should during our periods.
Our pads go beyond hygiene to proactively support women’s wellbeing.
As well as being made from natural materials, our pads contain a layer that’s made of Tourmaline, a semi precious mineral stone, which is antibacterial, helps regulate your mentrual cycle and basically has a calming effect. It’s why 99.9% of our customers tell us that Gift pads just make them feel better during their periods.
Thirdly, who do we distribute free pads to and how many have we distributed so far?
We distribute to women in refugee camps, homeless women, foodbanks and schools as well as a plethora of organisations that contact us who work with vulnerable women and girls.
Our latest distribution was a few days ago, which went to Idlib in Syria and so far we’ve disributed around 5.2 million pads.