ADDRESSING PERIOD POVERTY: ATLAS VENDING REVOLUTIONISES HYGIENE ACCESS WITH FREE SANITARY PRODUCT DISPENSING MACHINES

(Left to Right: Dr Lenny Suriyani binti Safri (Representative from Tunku Mukhriz UKM Hospital), Amy Gan (Vice President of Marketing, Etika Sdn. Bhd.), Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah binti Dr. Wan Ismail (Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur), Puan Hajah Kamsiah binti Yasin (Principal from Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor), Cik Kamisah binti Abu Bakar (Principal from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak)

ATLAS Vending, renowned for its innovative vending solutions, is revolutionising the vending industry with its latest initiative aimed at addressing period poverty. In collaboration with Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah binti Dr. Wan Ismail, and Libresse Malaysia, ATLAS Vending is leveraging its technology and expertise to tackle period poverty head-on.

The introduction of these machines marks a significant step in ATLAS Vending’s mission to prioritise social responsibility and contribute positively to the community. By addressing period poverty through innovation and compassion, ATLAS Vending aims to empower individuals to manage their menstrual health with confidence and dignity.

Period poverty in Malaysia paints a stark picture of limited access to safe and hygienic menstrual products, coupled with inadequate education on menstrual hygiene and a dearth of basic sanitation facilities,” shared Amy Gan, Vice President of Marketing at Etika Sdn Bhd, representing ATLAS Vending.

“Many are unaware of communities where women and girls struggle to afford sanitary products, resorting to rags or paper, which perpetuates embarrassment and anxiety, often resulting in school absenteeism during menstruation days.”

In response to this pressing need, ATLAS Vending came up with a vending machine that dispenses sanitary products for free, ensuring universal access to essential menstrual products. “Our innovative solution utilises a card access system to dispense free period packs, preserving privacy and dignity for users,” explained Amy. “By harnessing technology and social responsibility, we aim to dismantle barriers to accessing menstrual products, particularly for marginalised communities.”

Innovative and forward-thinking, ATLAS Vending’s solution utilises a card access system to dispense free packs of sanitary napkins, prioritising privacy and dignity for users. By harnessing the power of technology and embracing social responsibility, ATLAS Vending is determined to dismantle barriers to accessing menstrual products, particularly for those in marginalised communities.

To ensure effective outreach, another machine will be installed at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM), formerly known as HUKM (Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia) Cheras located in Bandar Tun Razak. Up to 600 recipients from Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor (S.M.S.S), Bandar Tun Razak (S.M.K.B.T.R) and HCTM will receive a card that allows them to receive a free sanitary pad pack each month through this initiative.

In her speech, Amy extended heartfelt gratitude to both the Constituency of Bandar Tun Razak and Libresse® Malaysia for their steadfast support and partnership in eradicating period poverty. ” As one of the leading feminine protection brands, Libresse is providing easy access and support to women with superior sanitary products designed to give the best security & protection,” Amy acknowledged.

“Together, we are making significant strides towards a future where no one is held back by the lack of safe and secure menstrual hygiene products.”

“We sincerely thank them for their steadfast partnership and eagerly anticipate further collaboration, both in terms of education and expanding the supply of sanitary pads to Malaysian women and girls,” Amy added, emphasising the importance of ongoing efforts to address this pressing issue.

The Truth Behind Period Poverty.

To better understand the state of period poverty and stigma in Malaysia, it is crucial to take clear actionable measures to advance the lives of Malaysian women and girls, ensuring periods never hinder their progress. Findings indicate that periods have not been fully normalised, highlighting the need to foster a safe environment for girls to discuss their struggles with periods without shame or fear.

Otherwise, there is a risk of women being hesitant to seek the help and support they need. It’s important to remember that periods aren’t just about bleeding; they are our body’s way of communicating about our reproductive system.

“Assisting the B40 group, our target demographic, is paramount,” asserted Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah binti Dr. Wan Ismail, Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak, at the launch of the pilot programme at Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor, Bandar Tun Razak (S.M.S.S).

“We cannot allow individuals to resort to unhygienic alternatives like coconut fibre as sanitary napkins. We are committed to not leaving these women and young girls behind. It’s time to break the taboo surrounding menstruation so that young women know the best way to take care of themselves during their periods.

Social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube can provide accessible knowledge and education, even for men, promoting better menstrual health practices.”

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah binti Dr. Wan Ismail vividly highlighted the severity faced by individuals resorting to rolled-up toilet paper and hand towels to manage their periods, emphasising, “Women and girls face oppression and a lack of freedom and opportunities due to the gender roles that are expected of them once they start menstruating.

School children should not have to miss school to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to afford to buy a pad. And no one should have to choose between feeding their family or buying sanitary products for their wives or daughters.”

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah binti Dr. Wan Ismail passionately addressed the underlying issue of misinformation and the taboo surrounding reproductive health, emphasising the critical need to break the silence around menstruation. “In today’s digital age, campaigns like this are essential for raising awareness and garnering support,” she asserted.

“I’m immensely grateful to brands like ATLAS Vending and Libresse® Malaysia for their unwavering commitment to supporting underprivileged women and girls. It’s time for both private firms and government bodies to follow their lead.”

“Menstruation is a natural part of being a woman. Menstrual health should be accessible to all and should not be associated with shame or stigma. As a brand leader in the area of feminine hygiene, we will continue to level up on our commitment to support women on their period and journey of the discovery V-Zone, building an environment where women are not discouraged from learning about their V-Zone and are instead empowered to live the life they want without shame and self-doubt.” shared Yapp Pau Ling, Commercial Director at Vinda Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Libresse and its continuous initiatives in educating women with the right V-zone knowledge through #KnowYourV campaign has won the consumers admiration, enabling them to make informed decisions besides providing them the best secure feeling during period with their quality pads.

“We understand that this solution is part of a long-term journey, which is why we want to start now to advocate for change aimed at dismantling cultural and generational stigma surrounding menstruation in Malaysia. Through partnerships and support from government bodies and corporate partners, we hope to install more ATLAS Vending machines like this with free sanitary products in areas where those experiencing hardship can easily and simply access them right across Malaysia,” Amy concluded.


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