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North Hollywood Teacher Wins an Oscar for Documentary About Menstruation

9:25 AM PST on February 25, 2019

[dropcap size=big]N[/dropcap]orth Hollywood English teacher Melissa Berton and her former student Helen Yenser won an Oscar Sunday for a documentary short they produced with the help of  students at Oakwood School. The doc, Period. End of Sentence., is beautifully shot and tackles the stigma associated with menstruation and a lack of access to sanitary pads in rural India.

"I share this with teachers and with students around the world," Berton said Sunday. "A period should end a sentence, not a girl's education."

The film was inspired by a trip Yenser, then a student at Oakwood, and Breton took to a United Nations conference, where they learned about the struggles women in parts of India face getting access to pads.

According to USA Today, "Many women in India use old cloths for sanitary protection, often reusing them. And an estimated 88 percent of women in India sometimes resort to using ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand to aid absorption."

Breton, Yenser, and other students at Oakwood started a Kickstarter to raise money to buy a "pad machine" that creates sanitary pads from sustainable products. The machine was invented by Arunachalam Muruganatham in 2006 and cost $12,000, according to USA Today.

Breton and her students started The Pad Project to help buy more machines and install them in rural India. They started the documentary to help promote the non-profit project.

The film is shot on location in India and is mostly in Hindi. It is available on Netflix here.

RELATED: Everything You Should Know About Roma Director Alfonso Cuarón Before the Oscars

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