Tag Archives: Hygiene

Keeping our girls in school!

18 Jan

 I have been working within the activism space for over a decade now. I started with www.powa.co.za; I did an intensive three month training course, understanding what abuse is, the myths and misconceptions surrounding abuse, court preparation and what our rights are. On completion the course, I started working as training and public awareness volunteer, later I became a member of the board and soon I sat as vice-chairperson for a few years. I began my activist career with POWA as I came to the realisation that I had not truly healed from an abusive relationship. The relationship happened when I was at university and nine years after the incident, I still blamed myself. It was at the point of my life that I knew that although I had some of the best private school education, I was still uneducated. With my training at POWA, I used my public status to talk about my abusive partner, thus bringing healing to myself but I wanted to create awareness around the myths and misconceptions of abuse and let women know that they are not alone and more importantly, push the truth that if it is happening to you, then IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Over the years I have worked with many women and children’s organisations and I have helped promote various campaigns, including working with the V-day foundation, founded by the award winning playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote the award winning book: The Vagina Monologues. I have worked in many disadvantaged communities across Africa, where the main focus has been on education, empowerment and knowing what your rights are. As those messages are incredibly important, there is an important factor that many of us have overlooked when it comes to women empowerment and girl power. That is acknowledging the stigmas that are attached to menstrual health and the reality of how it affects many lives. This includes the fact that due to various living conditions of living below the poverty line, many women and girls cannot afford the necessary tampons/pads nor do they have access to constant running water and washing materials.

 After researching through various websites and organisations, I soon discovered that approximately 50% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month. The majority of these ladies have no access to clean and safe sanitary products, or to a clean and private space in which to change menstrual cloths or pads and to wash. In many communities, menstruation is supposed to be invisible and silent, and sometimes, menstruating women and girls are supposed to be invisible and silent, too. Millions of girls and women are subject to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating. Besides the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation, the lack or unaffordability of facilities and appropriate sanitary products may push menstruating girls temporarily or sometimes permanently out of school, having a negative impact on their right to education. This is a serious problem.

 I then began to research other alternatives to sanitary pads and tampons, as they are incredibly expensive.

 According to http://www.africa.com, Stuart Lewis wrote:

“In her lifetime, the average woman uses 11 000 tampons, or 22 sanitary products (pads or tampons per period). In South Africa with the average tampon costing about R1.50 each (yes, that means R33 a period, or R16 500 in her lifetime) and a pack of 10 sanitary pads costing R18 (which translates to about R36 a period, or R19 800 in her lifetime). This means that having a period is an expense that many cannot afford. Most South Africans still live below the poverty line, which means that they must use alternative means of stemming the flow. These include using towelling or material which is rewashed. However, in some cases this too is unaffordable.”

 As there are many communities across the continent where people live below the poverty line, the situation is the same if not worse, as many communities across Africa do not practice gender equality and the challenges for girls and women are much higher.

 According to Africacheck.org:

Since 2014, various people have claimed that 7 million girls in South Africa are missing school every month because they don’t have access to or money for sanitary products.

 A UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals as much as twenty percent of a given school year.

 So what is the solution to this problem? How can we ensure that girls do not have to miss school due to their menstruation cycles?

 

  1. We need to break the stigmas and misconceptions that surround menstrual cycles.
  • According to University of Melbourne research fellow Dr Carla Pascoe is that money can still be made from promising women a more effective way to conceal their period.
  • In some societies, menstruation is perceived as unclean or embarrassing, extending even to the mention of menstruation both in public (in the media and advertising) and in private (amongst the friends, in the household, and with men). Many traditional religions consider menstruation as ritually unclean. 

 

We need to create platforms and educate young ladies, that menstruation a part of womanhood.

 

  1. Finding a cost effective, hygienic product, that will allow them continue with their lives as normal.

 

I came across the PrincessD Menstrual cup.

logo

 

The PrincessD Menstrual cup is a reusable, eco-friendly, cost-effective menstrual cup made of the highest quality medical grade silicone. It is available in 2 sizes (small and large).

The menstrual cup is the ideal, sustainable solution for girls in disadvantaged areas in the world.

 

How does it work?

 

  • It comes in two sizes.

small

– SMALL (20ml)

For girls and women under 30 years old.

Suitable for a light flow.

 large

– LARGE (25ml)

For women over 30 years old.

Suitable for a heavy flow.

 Why is the PrincessD menstrual cup so amazing?

  • It offers up to 12 hours of leak-free protection.
  • The cup is ultra soft and made from hypo-allergenic, non-absorbent medical grade silicone.
  • It is biocompatible and approved by the FDA.
  • It contains no bleach, deodorant or absorbing gels.
  • It is eco-friendly and does not contribute to deforestation.
  • It is easy to insert and remove.
  • It collects and does not absorb.
  • Depending on the flow it can be used for up to 12 hours as a time.
  • Suitable for use during any sports and sleep
  • It is reusable for up to five years.
  • Washing it requires hot water. This is ideal for communities who have limited access to water. After wearing the cup for a full day, it can be removed, rinsed under hot water and reinserted.
  • It is the greener alternative to disposable tampons and pads.

 

I have decided to partner with this revolutionary product after using the cup for three of my periods. I found it incredibly cost-effective and comfortable.

I will be pushing the brand across the continent and I am looking for Pan African partners.

We need to keep our girls in school.

If you are a corporate company or government or simply an individual who wishes to buy this product or help promote it across Africa, please do contact us. 

rosie@princessdmenstrualcup.com

www.princessdmenstrualcup.com