Paul Okari is the Kenyan Entrepreneur Transforms Menstrual Health with Innovative Reusable Pads

At the tender age of 19, Paul Okari embarked on a project that would challenge cultural taboos and transform the lives of many young women across Africa. Recognizing how poverty-stricken girls were forced to miss school due to a lack of access to commercial sanitary products, Okari decided to take action. This initiative led to the creation of Safi Pads, a brand of reusable sanitary towels that have significantly impacted the lives of girls in rural areas of western Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.

Born out of necessity and compassion, Safi Pads started with a loan from Okari’s parents. These reusable sanitary towels, made from locally available materials, are not only hygienic and washable but also cost-effective, priced at half the cost of conventional products. Through his organization, Impact Africa Industries, Okari aims to empower poor young girls and women, thereby supporting their continued education. The venture has garnered international attention and financial support from various non-profit organizations, which have donated thousands of dollars to help increase production and expand reach.

Okari’s journey began when he volunteered as a teacher at an all-girls school while studying at the University of Nairobi. Witnessing the struggles of the students who frequently missed classes due to their menstrual cycles, he was inspired to make a change. With a $1500 loan from his parents, Okari started Safi Pads, which now employs over 30 local men and women and has produced and sold over a million reusable sanitary towels across rural Kenya and Uganda. His innovative approach earned Impact Africa Industries a finalist spot for the pan-African Anzisha Prize, a recognition sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation that rewards outstanding young African entrepreneurs.

Okari’s determination and resilience are rooted in his childhood experiences. His early exposure to business, having worked in his father’s wholesale store, and his keen interest in entrepreneurship, which he developed from a young age, laid the foundation for his success. Despite facing numerous challenges, including financial constraints and initial setbacks, Okari’s unwavering commitment to his vision has driven him forward. His success story is a testament to the power of innovation and the impact one individual can have on a community.

Today, Safi Pads not only provides a practical solution to menstrual health but also contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing the waste footprint of disposable sanitary products. With the support of global networks and recognition, including his debut in the Forbes “30 Under 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa” list, Okari continues to inspire and lead by example. His story underscores the importance of addressing menstrual health and its broader implications for education and economic well-being in developing regions.

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