Rayka Zehtabchi

 
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Rayka Zehtabchi is an Iranian-American film director with a passion for storytelling that brings awareness -- and action -- to little-known social issues. For example, did you know that in the developing world many girls drop out of school when they begin menstruating?

In societies where there is little money for sanitary pads, where menstruation is stigmatized, or where teenaged girls are pressured to leave school to take over household duties, take care of younger siblings, or get married, menstruation is the root of a litany of other social problems.

Rayka's short documentary, Period. End of Sentence., deals directly with this issue. It is about a group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatize menstruation in order to elevate the role of women by keeping girls in school.

Along with the film's release, Rayka and the Period team co-founded the non-profit "The Pad Project" to fight the stigma of menstruation and improve feminine hygiene worldwide. There are similar programs like it throughout the developing world, such as AfriPADS in Uganda. Proof that the topic of Rayka’s documentary is a recognized global issue, indeed.

Period. End of Sentence. double-qualified for the Academy Awards in 2018, winning Jury and Audience awards at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival and Cleveland International. The film also took home Jury and Audience awards from AFI Fest among many others and won the Documentary Short category of the 91st Academy Awards®.

Bravo Rayka! Thank you for your efforts to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide. The only thing left to say is… How can we help?

I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar.
— Rayka Zehtabchi

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