In South Africa, many women and girls lack the financial means to access adequate menstrual health management products such as pads and tampons. This phenomenon is known as period poverty. As s result, many women and girls resort to unhygienic alternatives like rags, paper towels, leaves, newspapers and other makeshift items that pose an increased risk for urogenital infections, such as urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis.
It is estimated that 30% of girls in South Africa do not attend school while they are menstruating because they cannot afford sanitary products. This means that 30% of South African school girls miss 4-7 days a month of school amounting to 48-84 days annually. This has a direct impact on their academic performance and in some situations girls get left hopefully behind leading to complete dropout. There is an urgent need to address barriers to education, especially those that are particular to a biological gender. Women and Girls’ education is critically important, not only for harnessing the nation’s human resources for development, but also for raising their self-esteem and confidence.
Many strides have been made in South Africa to address period poverty including the removal of tax on menstrual products, improved access to free sanitary products to indigent girls in quintiles 1 - 3 schools as well as various pad drives by social responsibility organisations. Although this has created some level of social change, due to the regularity of menstruations, free donations of disposal sanitary products is simply not sustainable leading to sporadic supply.
We are raising funds to provide period packs for 1 000 girls who cannot afford them. Each pack costs R350 which means that for just R70 a year, each girl will have pads to manage their period for 5 years.
Why Cloth Pads
Reusable cloth pads eliminate monthly dependency on donations for menstrual products and create a sustainable solution ensuring women and girls adopt consistent and continuous healthy menstrual practices. Reusable menstrual pads are essentially a washable fabric version of a disposable menstrual pad. They come in a variety of shapes and materials and are constructed in several layers of fabric to ensure absorption.
- After the initial cost of cloth pads, there is no additional cost to keep buying over and over again. The pads will be washed after each use and reused for up to 5 years;
- Reusable pads are readily available on a monthly basis which gives the user a sense of independence and ownership over their own menstrual health management. This also breaks the cycle of monthly dependency on donations and sponsorships;
- Reusable pads made from natural fibers contain no chemicals or toxins; and
- They are environmentally friendly than single use pads which fill up landmines.
Click here for pad construction, use and care.