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Amala Periods empowering women, helping environment

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Sarah Udin, the founder of Amala Periods. SARAH UDIN VIA FB

Amala Periods empowering women, helping environment

A common struggle women face when on their period is how it often makes them feel not like themselves. It can be frustrating to feel the pad keep moving around, while some can even cause itchiness.

With a heavy flow meaning pads will need to be changed more frequently and bringing a constant fear of leaking – women know exactly how annoying periods can be.

But nowadays there are various choices made especially for women to be free to bleed, including the sustainable and reusable period panty products from Amala Periods, which was founded in April last year by Sarah Udin.

Amala aims to address women’s insecurities when on their periods, while ensuring better menstrual health and helping the environment.

While Udin has undertaken many careers, from wedding and events planner, English teacher and ski resort manager, to data analyst at Amazon, and has more than 10 years’ experience as a gymnastics coach, she always dreamed of having her own sustainable, female-focused business.

With a bachelor’s in French and German and qualifications in social entrepreneurship, Udin first came to Cambodia in 2012, returning in 2019 before moving to the Kingdom a year later.

“After spending time in Cambodia, I realised that this was the perfect place to turn my dream into a reality because these product were not available here. I have always had very long, heavy and painful periods.

“After years of struggling with plastic period products that were not good for my body, my bank balance or the environment, I made it my mission to find a better solution.

“I started using period underwear in 2017 while in the UK. Wanting to share the benefits of period underwear with those who bleed in Cambodia, I started Amala Periods,” she said.

Udin and her business partner chose the name Amala because it means “lack of impurity”, or clean, in Sanskrit. With there being a stigma in Cambodia that periods are dirty and shameful, they wanted their brand to show that periods are normal and should be seen as healthy, while their products are also sustainable.

Udin said Amala are on a mission to fight period poverty and inequality by providing accessible period education, with their vision to get sustainable period products into the hands of everyone who bleeds in Cambodia.

Their period underwear is made of eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo and organic cotton, while there are nylon options for a more sporty feel, she said.

“What makes our period panties so special is the four-layer technology. The first layer is moisture-wicking. This layer removes the moisture and keeps you feeling dry throughout the day.

“The second layer is odour-proof. This keeps you smelling fresher for longer. The third layer is super-absorbent, allowing the moisture to sit away from the body for up to 12 hours, while the fourth layer is leak-proof, creating extra protection,” Udin said.

Udin explained that there are many benefits to using Amala’s sustainable period products, such as saving money from not having to buy pads or tampons monthly, while protecting underwear and clothes from leaks.

She said sustainable period products are better for the body, with the natural fabrics allowing the skin to breathe, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable period.

They also reduce the amount of plastic waste dumped in the environment, so by switching to sustainable alternatives, you are protecting the environment for future generations, Udin said.

Disposable pads and tampons also contain nasty chemicals that can increase the risk of infections, diseases and even cancer, she added.

The 28-year-old British CEO of Amala Periods said giving back to the community is a core principle of the company.

“We want to be as inclusive as possible. Everyone has a right to period care. For every five pairs of period underwear we sell, we donate one pair to those who aren’t able to afford them otherwise.

“We are also in the process of developing period education programmes for local schools, organisations, charities and workplaces, empowering those who bleed through education, ” she said.

Amala period panties come in a range of different styles, available from XXS-6XL, and cost from $18 to $30.

“We have an awesome deal in which you can buy five pairs of period underwear for $85. We also have menstrual cups, reusable pads, pouches and other sustainable period accessories to make your period more enjoyable,” Udin said.

She said her favourite thing to hear from customers is how her products have changed their lives, with them feeling more confident and powerful during their period.

“I love it when our customers get excited for their period, sometimes for the first time. I’m so happy that our company, Amala Periods, actually encourages people to open up and is normalising talking about female menstrual health in Cambodia,” she said.

Udin said that so far she has had an extremely positive response from the market, with most customers, while hesitant to try something new at first, returning to buy more period underwear after giving them a go.

Dane Durkin and Sarah Ritchie, two Amala Periods customers, told The Post that they could never go back to using anything else, with the underwear having changed their lives for the better and made their periods much easier.

Durkin, a Cambodian mother of a two-year-old, said she met Udin at a pool and found out about the period panties when they started talking.

“I was curious, and it sounded really interesting so I decided to buy one to try out, and it has changed my life. I feel much more comfortable in period panties.

“I don’t need to worry about leaking or changing my pad every one or two hours – sometimes I even forget that I am on my period.

“When I wore pads, the plastic kept moving around. I often found pads weren’t absorbent enough because I have a heavy flow,” she said.

Durkin, the founder of lingerie, bikini and cosmetics shop Honey Adore, said the designs are also attractive, while she loves the fact they are so much better for the environment and that she feels empowered wearing them.

Ritchie, a Canadian friend of the founder, said once Udin started her company, she was eager to try out the products.

“Sanitary pads can often feel large and uncomfortable, but Amala Periods underwear makes me still feel confident and sexy like I’m not even on my period.

“I have already recommended it to all of my friends and family. And I’m doing good for the environment as I’m not wasting single-use plastic,” said Ritchie.

Udin said she wants Amala Periods to be a 100 per cent Cambodian business, with the goal of designing and manufacturing the products locally within the next couple of years.

They aim to help support the Cambodian community by hiring locally, while creating a healthy work environment that allows them to control the sustainability and quality of their products.

Udin said starting a business in a foreign country does come with its challenges, with Amala Periods having invested a lot of time learning about Cambodian culture, overcoming the language barrier – and addressing the unique needs of Khmer people.

“Everyone’s body is different, meaning that the length and heaviness of your period may be different from your friends’. This is normal and you should not feel any shame or concern.

“This also means that you need to find the period product that is right for you and the unique needs of your body,” said Udin.

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