Video made by Kate Thompson-Gorry
I grew up in Zimbabwe as a child. While visiting my family with my son in 2017 we worked as volunteers on Imiri Rhino & Wildlife Conservancy. While doing community work in rural areas around the conservancy I was introduced to the MOTHER GROUP at NUMWA school who make REUSABLE SANITARY PAD KITS for the girls at school. It was an issue that I had never heard of and it really touched and shocked me.
After having done a car rally crossing Sub-Saharan Africa and spoken to so many girls across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi, they told me their dreams for their future; bookkeeper’s, nurse’s, police, teacher’s, anti-poaching. I realised that so many of these girls will not be able to fulfil their dreams because of missing so much school during their menstruation.
Often, girls don’t even know that sanitary pads exist and use DRY LEAVES, SAND, CHICKEN FEATHERS, DUNG, BANANA SKINS, NEWSPAPERS or pieces from FOAM MATTRESSES to be able to attend school. At times they dig a hole at home and sit in it for the duration of their menstruation. UNICEF published reports on how girls are also forced into sex for sanitary pads so that they can attend school.
A large percentage of girls DROP OUT of school because of falling behind in their studies or from being ashamed to attend school after being teased by their piers from soiling their clothes with blood. The only option for them is then to marry and have children at such young ages, where mortality rate is very high in childbirth because of the lack of clinics, medicines, doctors or nurses, leaving aside the problems of HIV, infections, etc.
Something so simple as a sanitary pad kit can prevent so many issues and give a girl a choice to stay in school and have a better chance of a future.
A sanitary pad kit includes: 6 FABRIC REUSABLE PADS, 3 FABRIC REUSABLE PAD HOLDER, 1 PAIR OF UNDERWEAR, 1 SOAP and 1 TOWEL.
I started my campaign to raise money to help women and girls become self-sustainable, giving women the opportunity to work by buying the pads they make from the donations and sponsors and also giving the girls a solution to attend school by distributing the reusable sanitary pad kits on our trips.
Tanya Puncuh – Padding Africa founder
01. SETTING UP SEWING GROUPS in rural villages to make REUSABLE SANITARY PAD KITS FOR GIRLS
02. DISTRIBUTING sanitary pad kits to rural schools in Sub-Saharan Africa
03. IMPLEMENTING making reusable sanitary pad kits in the schools
01. The reusable sanitary pad kit consists of a PAIR OF UNDERWEAR, A TOWEL AND SOAP, 2 SANITARY PAD HOLDERS that clip into place with underwear, 6 INSERTS TO CHANGE when spoiled, a bag to keep the kit in discreetly
02. Kits are made of COTTON and FLANNEL
01. REDUCES CHILD BRIDES
02. REDUCED MORTALITY IN YOUNG CHILD BIRTH
03. REDUCED POVERTY
04. REDUCED DISEASE AND INFECTION
05. IMPROVES COMMUNITIES
06. BETTER EARNING POTENTIAL
07. NEXT GENERATION BETTER EDUCATED