POVERTY has forced women and girls in marginalised communities to turn to unsafe options during menstruation as they can’t afford sanitary wear.
ShamwariYemwanasikana, which campaigns for affordable sanitary wear and easy access to sexual reproductive health for all, said challenges women and girls encountered during their menstrual cycles were immense.
ShamwariYemwanasikana development and partnerships manager, Lisa Bonongwe, said they were running a Dignity Kit campaign, which addresses the sexual reproductive health of adolescent girls.
The Dignity Kit contains two packs of pads, two undergarments, a towel, soap, roll on, toothpaste and Vaseline.
“Through our Sexual Reproductive Health Strategic Pillar, we advocate for affordable and accessible information and services for adolescent girls and young women.
“This also includes the affordability of sanitary wear,” she said.
Bonongwe said the campaign will run up to the end of next month when the world observes Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28.
“We engage with girls through our community club, Dandaro Revasikana, where girls, in and out of school, meet to discuss issues that affect them, and period poverty is one of the issues that keeps coming up in most conversations.
“They say the basics they require during their menstrual cycle are pads and soap, among others,” she said.
During the Dandaro conversations with girls from different communities, some revealed that it was hard for them to own decent toiletries and that they are sexually exploited to buy basic toiletries.
She said the organisation was working towards reusable pads.
“The organisation also aims to train girls to make reusable pads because we realised that giving the girls two packs of disposable pads is not enough to last them, so the reusable pad campaign is our next project,” said Bonongwe.
She said they would distribute Dignity Kits in five provinces and appealed to other organisations, and individuals, to help them end period poverty.