ASOS’s Made in Kenya range is a bit of an unsung hero in terms of high-street collections. At a time when the question of supply chains and production processes are more crucial than ever, it’s a range that truly does work to improve the lives of those involved in making it. Working with an organisation called SOKO in Kenya, ASOS remains true to its promise, making everything at a factory in the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, where rates of prostitution and HIV/AIDS are high, along with levels of unemployment. Through training and employment, SOKO helps women regain control of their own lives, earn a decent income, send their children to school and provide healthy meals. Families are finding their way out of poverty. Now, ASOS has launched a new initiative to try to help the girls who are regularly missing school due to a lack of affordable sanitary protection.
Together, the ASOS Foundation (the brand’s own charitable trust) and the SOKO Community Trust have launched the Kujuwa Initiative, to support access to education for young women and girls in the rural Kasigau region of Kenya. As part of this, local women and SOKO employees were consulted to help develop a washable, reusable and – crucially – comfortable sanitary pad made from the scraps of material left from the Made in Kenya range. According to ASOS, “Each washable pad comes with removable liners and lasts for up to three years. They have a discreet, portable, attractive design and the removable liners unfold to a simple square, allowing for discretion when washing and drying.”
Over 900 girls across six schools will receive KIT (Keep It Together) bags, which include cotton briefs, the sanitary pads with removable liners, a bar of soap and a waterproof wash bag. These schools are also recipients of ASOS and SOKO’s WASH project, which, among other things, provides toilets and facilities that allow girls to change their pads in private, avoiding the embarrassment of having to use a toilet without a door, which is commonplace. The pads will also help to generate income for the local sewing training school, Stitching Academy Hub.
The latest Made in Kenya collection launches on ASOS next Thursday, including a collaboration with Beats 1 radio presenter Julie Adenuga. With the signature bright colours and distinctive prints across a number of pieces, and with proceeds going to such a good cause, it’s one to watch out for.