To prevent girls in rural Zimbabwe from skipping school during their periods, a community organisation is producing reusable sanitary towels. Gladys Mukaratirwa, who founded the Chiedza Community Welfare Trust in Mutasa District, Zimbabwe, saw that neighbourhood girls were skipping school each month because they couldn’t afford disposable hygiene products. She decided to start sewing cloth sanitary pads.
Realising the need for a sustainable source of sanitary napkins, Mukaratirwa said, “If you calculate two to five days per month, it’s about 45 days per year of school time which is wasted, so we realised that there was a need for them to have a sustainable source of sanitary pads.”
Zimbabwe Sanitary Pads
The organisation, which is run by female volunteers, offers its sanitary pads to people and charitable organisations in Zimbabwe so that they can provide them to underprivileged women and schoolgirls.
Earlier in July, girls in rural Zimbabwe had been compelled by extreme poverty to use dried cow dung instead of bandages during menstruation cycles, according to a story from an African news portal.
To address these issues, similar nonprofit organisations the likes of Global Giving assist other organisations by connecting them with contributors and businesses. Since 2002, Global Giving has aided reputable, community-led organisations gain access to the resources, education, and assistance they require to improve the world, helping them in hundreds of locations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
One of its projects by the Tese Foundation sought to create a community centre in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, as part of its mission to end the stigma around menstruation, so that young women and girls may learn how to make reusable sanitary pads and receive basic business training. Menstrual pads are not typically sold in rural locations, and if they are, they are sometimes prohibitively expensive for the majority of homes. By selling pads, the charitable organisation hoped to enhance access to health care and education for local residents as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for women.
Suggested Reading: Period Leaves Are A Step Towards Breaking The Taboo Around Menstruation
The country’s socialist leadership has enforced corruption and economic mismanagement, which is seen in Zimbabwe’s current inflation rate. Since winning independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe has been governed by the same socialist party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Zimbabwe is now one of the world’s poorest nations as a direct result of ZANU-bad PF’s governance. In 2019, the UN labelled Zimbabwe’s food shortages as an instance of “man-made hunger.”