Meet The Board

Please meet the board members of the AFRIpads Foundation. This team of dedicated volunteers tries to raise awareness and funds to enable girls and women in Uganda to go to school or to work every week of the month!

Sanne Bolkenstein


My name is Sanne Bolkenstein, chair of the AFRIpads Foundation. My first trip to Uganda was in 2009, together with my friend Laurens Buijs. Once there, we met Sonia and Pauls, the current CEO’s of AFRIpads Ltd. Their ideas inspired us from the start and we decided to do as much as we could to turn them into reality. After a successful pilot in 2009, I left Amsterdam to set up sales channels for AFRIpads in Uganda. After returning to the Netherlands in 2012, I have worked for the AFRIpads Foundation. I became chair of our enthusiastic group of people in 2014. Together we work hard to reach or goal: all girls to school, all days of the year! Next to AFRIpads, I work as sales and account manager at Byte, a webhosting company.

Laurens Buijs


My name is Laurens Buijs, and I have been enchanted by AFRIpads since the moment the idea arose in Uganda in 2009. I have always considered it a great honor to do what I can to help AFRIpads to consolidate and expand. I have seen the enormous potential the business has: providing work for women, while supporting them with their everyday sanitary concerns in a way that is friendly for the environment. Also as a result of my work as a lecturer and researcher in the social sciences and gender studies (University of Amsterdam), I have become convinced that this is exactly what both developing and developed countries are in need of: more social space for women and femininity.

Carina Bolkenstein-Bast


My name is Carina Bolkenstein-Bast, former teacher in business administration. My first awareness of the menstrual-related school absence in African countries came with my daughter’s phone call from Kampala in 2009. She convinced us the production of washable sanitarypads would be just the thing to keep Ugandan girls in school.  She asked us to do a social investment in a hand-driven sewingmachine and some fabric and so Sonia and Pauls started AFRIpads in a small village outside Masaka.  Soon after, we started the AFRIpads Foundation in Holland. There are still many girls in the remote areas that cannot afford to buy pads, not even the much cheaper in use washable AFRIpads, and I see it as our mission to provide our solution to them as well. Our aim: to keep all girls in school!

Nicoline Evers


Hi! I am Nicoline Evers, working as People Development and Engagement manager at Our chairman Sanne and I have known each other since childhood and in 2009 she returned from a trip in Uganda with a story of a problem I would have never thought existed. I was stunned by the fact that a large percentage of girls in Africa do not finish their school because of menstruation and very excited when she told me the idea Sonja and Pauls had to make a start of resolving the problem. I followed AFRIpads in their first years, from small start-up to reaching more and more girls with sanitary pads every day and I am very glad I can contribute to this.

Hans Spaan


My name is Hans Spaan and I am born in 1961. I have one daughter who is doing well at school and who had the opportunity to go to university. I am proud of her and I am confident she will have a prosperous future partly because of good education. Unfortunately, this not common all over the world. Girls in Uganda for example face practical barriers like menstruation that need to be overcome. This is not only sorry for these women, but also for the country. Being a supervisory board member in my professional life I experience the value of diversity for organisations. And after all, investing in education is investing in a country’s future economic power as well. By giving all women the opportunity to enjoy good education we provide not only a better future to them, but also to the organisations they will work for and the country they are part of.