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 our goal: all girls to school, all days of the year! Besides my charity work for AFRIpads, I work as Director of Sales in e-commerce.

Nicoline Evers

Board member

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.

Carina Bolkenstein-Bast

Treasurer & Secretary

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!

Hans Spaan

Board member

My name is Hans Spaan and I have a background in international business. With my experience working in international and multicultural contexts, I have directly seen how equity and equal opportunity are critical to empowerment.
As a father to a daughter, I saw how the opportunity to go to university and pursue education allowed her to have a prosperous future. Unfortunately, this not the case all over the world.
Many girls in Uganda face critical barriers to education, like menstruation. This needs to be overcome. This is not only holding back these girls, but is holding back Uganda as a country. Investing in education allows countries to grow economically and prosper.
By giving all women the opportunity for an education, we provide not only a better future for them, but also for their countries.

Sølvi Hart

Board member

Hi, my name is Sølvi and I am very happy to be a part of the AFRIpads Foundation team! With my background in social media I am glad I can contribute to spreading the word about this great cause. I recently moved from the city center of Amsterdam to the countryside and my partner and I are expecting our first child. Carina and Sanne happen to be family as my partner, Bas, is their son and brother! Growing up in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Norway, I never realized what a privilege it was to be able to go to school every day of the month and always have plenty of sanitary pads at hand. Now I know this is not the case for a lot of young schoolgirls. Let’s change that!

Helen Walker

Board member

My name is Helen Walker, since May 2021 part of the AFRIpads Foundation, but since 2011 connected to AFRIpads, as I had the privilege to work with AFRIpads in Uganda from the early days and watch the company grow! I worked with AFRIpads for 3 years and in those years I watched the tremendous development that the company experienced, from a small start-up to the largest supplier of washable pads in Africa. But more importantly, I saw the tremendous impact that AFRIpads has, not only on the lives of the girls and women who finally have access to affordable pads, but also on the lives of the women (and their families) who work with AFRIpads. I’m extremely proud to have been part of this journey, and I am very happy to continue my involvement as a Board Member of the AFRIpads Foundation.

Willeke Westra

Board member

My name is Willeke and I have been a proud member of the AFRIpads Family since 2015. For close to six years, I was privileged to document numerous impactful donations on behalf of the AFRIpads Foundation in literally all corners of Uganda. Moreover, I have been able to witness the impact such a ‘simple’ gift of reusable pads can have on a girl’s life. I love that AFRIpads is truly ‘for women, by women’. Through ‘Women Centered Design’, amazing period products and educational tools have been developed over the years. After moving from Uganda to Kenya in 2021, I remained part of the family by joining the AFRIpads Foundation board. I hope to use my experience working with the Ltd. and living on the continent to make our Foundation work more and more impactful.

Reusable Sanitary Pads

€ 7,50 for a Bright Future!

School Attendance for Girls