Atlas Vending, Libresse, and Dr Wan Azizah join forces to combat period poverty

Atlas Vending has introduced a vending machine that provides free sanitary products, ensuring universal access to essential menstrual supplies.

SHARIFAH SHAHIRAH
21 May 2024 09:00am
From left to right: Dr Lenny Suriyani binti Safri (Tunku Mukhriz UKM Hospital Representative), Amy Gan (Etika Sdn Bhd, representing ATLAS Vending marketing vice president), Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur), Puan Hajah Kamsiah Yasin (Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor Principal), Cik Kamisah Abu Bakar (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak Principal)
From left to right: Dr Lenny Suriyani binti Safri (Tunku Mukhriz UKM Hospital Representative), Amy Gan (Etika Sdn Bhd, representing ATLAS Vending marketing vice president), Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur), Puan Hajah Kamsiah Yasin (Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor Principal), Cik Kamisah Abu Bakar (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak Principal)
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SHAH ALAM - Atlas Vending, known for its innovative vending solutions, is transforming the vending industry with its latest initiative aimed at addressing period poverty.

In collaboration with Bandar Tun Razak Member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and Libresse Malaysia, Atlas Vending is leveraging its technology and expertise to tackle period poverty head-on.

Representing Atlas Vending, Etika Sdn Bhd marketing vice president Amy Gan stressed that period poverty in Malaysia highlights the severe lack of access to safe and hygienic menstrual products.

She added the inadequate education on menstrual hygiene and the shortage of basic sanitation facilities.

“Many are unaware of communities where women and girls struggle to afford sanitary products, resorting to rags or paper, which perpetuates embarrassment and anxiety."

“This often results in school absenteeism during menstruation days, highlighting a critical issue that needs to be addressed,” she said during her speech.

To meet this urgent need, Atlas Vending has introduced a vending machine that provides free sanitary products, ensuring universal access to essential menstrual supplies.

Amy said their innovative solution utilises a card access system to dispense free period packs, preserving privacy and dignity for users.

"By harnessing technology and social responsibility, we aim to dismantle barriers to accessing menstrual products, particularly for marginalised communities,” she added.

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Innovative and forward-thinking, Atlas Vending's solution uses 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 committed to breaking down 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), Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak (S.M.K.B.T.R), and HCTM will be provided with a card, allowing them to receive a free pack of sanitary pads each month through this initiative.

The installation of these machines represents a noteworthy milestone in Atlas Vending's commitment to social responsibility and community welfare.

Through innovative solutions and compassionate action, Atlas Vending endeavours to combat period poverty, empowering individuals to maintain their menstrual health with assurance and dignity.

From left to right: Cik Kamisah Abu Bakar (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak, Principal), Student from SMS Selangor (1), Student from SMS Selangor (2), Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
From left to right: Cik Kamisah Abu Bakar (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Tun Razak, Principal), Student from SMS Selangor (1), Student from SMS Selangor (2), Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

During her speech, Amy expressed gratitude to the Bandar Tun Razak Constituency and Libresse Malaysia for their unwavering support and collaboration in the fight against 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.

“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,” she said.

Amy expressed genuine gratitude for their enduring partnership and looked forward to continued collaboration, particularly in education and expanding access to sanitary pads for Malaysian women and girls. She emphasised the significance of ongoing initiatives to tackle this urgent issue.

To comprehensively address period poverty and stigma in Malaysia, it's imperative to implement actionable steps that uplift the lives of Malaysian women and girls, ensuring that menstruation never becomes a barrier to their advancement.

Research reveals that menstruation remains stigmatised, highlighting the importance of creating a supportive environment where girls can openly discuss their menstrual challenges without feeling ashamed or afraid.

Failure to address these issues may lead to women feeling reluctant to seek the assistance and resources they require. It's essential to recognise that menstruation serves as a vital communication tool for our reproductive health, extending beyond mere bleeding.

Wan Azizah emphasised that assisting the B40 group, their target demographic, is crucial.

“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,” she said during the launch of the pilot programme at Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor, Bandar Tun Razak (S.M.S.S).

Wan Azizah stressed that social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube can provide accessible knowledge and education, even for men, promoting better menstrual health practices. She also highlighted the severity faced by individuals resorting to rolled-up toilet paper and hand towels to manage their periods.

She emphasised oppression and limited opportunities faced by women and girls as they conform to expected gender roles upon menstruation. She said children should not miss school due to the embarrassment of being unable to afford menstrual products.

“No one should have to choose between feeding their family or buying sanitary products for their wives or daughters,” she added.

Azizah passionately addressed the underlying issue of misinformation and the taboo surrounding reproductive health, emphasising the critical need to break the silence around menstruation.

She highlighted that during the digital age, campaigns like this are essential for raising awareness and garnering support.

She expressed immense gratitude 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, she said.

Vinda Malaysia Sdn Bhd Libresse commercial director, Yapp Pau Ling said that menstruation is a natural part of being a woman and should be accessible to all, free from 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.

“We strive to build 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,” she said.

Ling said 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.

In the meantime, Amy said through partnerships and support from government bodies and corporate partners, they 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.

“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,” she added.