THE Scottish “Ken and Barbie” are helping tackle period poverty with a year-long cycle challenge to raise money for charity.

Ken Okines (76) from Duns plans to cycle 3000 miles this year to fund money for charity the Pachamama Project.

His wife, Barbie Okines (below), is also a volunteer for the UK-based charity whose mission is to eliminate period poverty for refugees and the most vulnerable worldwide including Ukraine, Uganda, Pakistan and the UK.

The National:

Ken said: “Every single day on my rides I think not only of the countless thousands of women Pachamama is helping but of the huge task of getting help to the many more who still have to endure the lack of sanitary articles of any kind.”

Barbie added: “The more I got involved, the more I realised what a need there is for this amazing charity to grow and provide much-needed items for so many women around the world. I often wonder how these women cope in such dire situations.”

Founded in 2020, the charity has supplied 100,000 reusable Pacha Pads, helping lift 12,500 out of period poverty for up to five years.

A lack of access to safe and hygienic sanity products is experienced worldwide by an estimated five million leading to missed days at school and work and exclusion from daily life.

The National: A group of Ugandan women with pads

Volunteers create the kits, including eight reusable pads, from home with sewing machines and provided templates.

Ella Lambert (below), Pachamama CEO, said: “Ken has made this massive commitment to raise money to fund shipping costs so that we can get our Pacha Pads to the people who need them most around the world.

The National: Ella Lambert, founder and CEO of The Pachamama Project

“We know from our research that engaging men, as well as women, in the conversation around periods is key to breaking down the stigma and making menstrual health management a priority globally.”

Ken’s progress can be tracked here and donations can be made here.