Women in Chipinge’s Ward 26 are benefitting from an initiative meant to address period poverty through empowering women with skills to make washable sanitary pads to ensure they shun unhygienic methods such as using old clothes.
By Artwell Sithole and Memory Sibanda
In an interview with 263Chat, Qelani Mahanya, a resident of Ward 26 in Chipinge South said washable sanitary pads are helping a lot of women in her area.
“I was part of the 11 women trained by Plan International to make washable pads, I am making them at my home and selling them at R5 each. Most women in my area are buying from me because they are affordable,” said Mahanya.
She said R5 is affordable compared to $2 women fork out every month to buy disposable pads.
Another woman from Mahanya’s ward, Ellen Dziya confirmed using rags as she could not afford disposable pads.
“I have bought my washable pads and have stopped using old clothes. The washable pads are local available, cheap and comfortable to use,” said Dziya.
A female student who preferred anonymity said she used to abscond lessons at school during her menses since she felt uncomfortable using old clothes.
“During my menses I usually absent from school for fear of messing myself. Now that washable pads are being sold in my area, I will no longer absent myself from school,” she said.
PYCD Gender and Advocacy Officer, Cynthia Gwenzi said period poverty is a serious problem in Chipinge district with most women resorting to unhygienic methods.
“Disposable sanitary pads are expensive and this forces many women to use old clothes. The use of washable pads has rescued many,” said Gwenzi.
She applauded Plan International and DREAMS for training women to make washable pads and also providing support for women led developmental projects.
Gwenzi challenged the government of Zimbabwe to honor its free sanitary for school girls initiative as well as subsidizing them to ensure women are not disadvantaged.
“Government must prioritize women issues, disposable pads are sold at prices that are beyond the reach of many women in rural communities, surprisingly condoms are distributed for free. Sex is a choice while menstruation is natural,” added Gwenzi.
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