Barclay Okari was inspired to found his start-up after volunteering to teach at a small girls’ high school in Western Kenya. He discovered that many of his students missed classes regularly because they couldn’t afford sanitary napkins. The sadness of this fact and a desire to change it gave birth to Safi Pads, a new, inexpensive, reusable, washable sanitary towel. The 22-year-old entrepreneur decided to explore the possibility of offering a cheaper, commercially viable alternative to regular sanitary pads. He set out to develop Safi Pads, a reusable, washable sanitary towel for low-income women.
Today, Okari’s company, Impact Africa Industries, has sold and distributed more than 1 million of these pads across East Africa. These reusable sanitary towels are patronized by poor women in rural areas in Kenya and Uganda, and help families make reasonable savings. In recognition of his efforts, Okari was a finalist for the Anzisha Prize, a pan-African award sponsored by the MasterCard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy to reward outstanding young African entrepreneurs.
The impact of Barclay Okari’s social enterprise
The 22-Year-Old Entrepreneur Producing Reusable Sanitary Pads For Poor African Girls