Producing sanitary pads is one of the activities that girls attending Nyava Youth Center run by DAPP Zimbabwe are learning to do.
An important part of any woman’s regular monthly routine is the use of sanitary pads. This is not an issue if the woman in question can go into a shop and buy the pads. It is not a pleasant choice if it is a decision between buying groceries and sanitary pads.
In sub-Saharan Africa, millions of girls, in particular, that reach the age of puberty are highly disempowered due to the lack of access to sanitary wear. Many of the girls from poor families cannot afford to buy sanitary pads.
Among other skills, girls attending HOPE Humana Youth Centre in Nyava are learning to make their own re-usable sanitary pads, enabling many from poor environments to go to school without interruption for a full 30 days every month. This can be an impossible accomplishment for poor girls who do not have this self-help knowledge. Girls say the washable cloth menstrual pads are easy to make and very comfortable to use.
A girl absent from school due to menstruation for four days a month loses 13 learning days, equivalent to two weeks of learning, in every school term. It is estimated that within the four years of high school the same girl loses 156 learning days equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning in high school.
“The knowledge I have in making these sanitary pads is freely acquired and I thank DAPP Zimbabwe that I have it and I will have this useful skill all my life. I encourage parents to send their daughters to me so that I can pass it on as well. The pads I make for myself are more comfortable and much better than the disposable ones available in the shops. They are also very cheap to make and are safe for the environment,” says a 17 year old girl from Munyezvo Village in Nyava area of Bindura District.
Nyava Youth Centre’s Co-ordinator, Lydia Mahonya says, “When this component of the Youth Centre training is combined with the others where the girls sew their own school uniforms, have access to school fees support and Child Rights Training, it makes it easier for the girls to participate in other activities that are important in their community.”
It is the accumulation of such small actions which will make it possible for getting each girl child not left out in accessing education without dropping out.
For more information on interesting development works being done in Zimbabwe visit the page DAPP Zimbabwe.