HARARE – Chisipite Senior School on Saturday created 1 000 reusable, washable sanitary pads, designed to keep indigent girls in school.
With facilitation by Tamba Washables and in close coordination with Kubatana, so-called “Padathon” produced 1 000 attractive and reusable cloth pads and is in the process of scaling the programme to reach more poor girls.
The Padathon was launched after the school noted a significant social challenge for school girls who did not have access to sanitary pads due to cost or availability.
Education has been identified as one of the key drivers to poverty reduction, especially for women, so missing multiple days each month is a significant detriment to their future.
“Being a girl in Zimbabwe is tough and culturally, talking about your period and trying to get help when you don’t have access to such things is not easy.
“Now, because they are a square piece of cloth, when you wash them and on the line, they just look like any piece of cloth and so they won’t feel embarrassed,” Jamie McLaren, event coordinator and Chisipite teacher said.
“The goal is to make 200 bags, with five pads in each and three liners in each, so 200 girls in Epworth and Kwekwe will be receiving these pads and we are trying to put one pair of underwear and bra in one pack as well for their freedom of comfort.
“Liz Nyamuda, founder of Tamba Washables, has been making washable reusable pads for a while now and she and the organisation Kubatana came to us and taught our fashion and fabrics girls how to make them, so since its World Menstrual Day on May 28, (we thought) what can we do for all the thousands of girls who do not have access to sanitary pads and basically we set up the Padathon challenge.”
Chisipite Fashion Club member and Upper Sixth student Fungai Muzorozo said she was thrilled to be helping girls who can’t afford to buy pads every month.
“. . . it will be less strenuous on them really and they can focus on education,” she said.
Co-founder of Kubatana, Brenda Burrell, who was also taking part in the Padathon, said: “I am doing this because I recognise the cost to a girl’s education if they have to spend a couple of days, depending on how heavily they menstruate — it can be more than a couple of days, away from school every month while others are at school and I think this is a great project to address that,” Burrell said.
Chisipite headmistress Lorraine Hill said it was good that the girls were not just talking but doing something about it.
Life coach Dorothy Chanakira and her daughter Nothando donated bras and panties, while local celebrities also took part in the challenge.