Gugulethu Dlodlo, the face behind Igugulethu Foundation has made strides in Matebeleland provinces by producing disposable pads meant for girls from vulnerable communities.
This is part of Igugulethu Foundation’s efforts to reduce what she termed period poverty.
In an interview with 263Chat, Dlodlo said she is producing these reusable pads to address the health risks associated with unsanitary methods such as cow dung and fresh grass.
“We chose reusable because first of all, we wanted to raise awareness on the plight of the girl child in Zimbabwe some girls do not have access to sanitary wear hence they end up using unsanitary stuff as pads like cow dung, fresh grass. This comes with adverse health effects…so introducing reusables can last for several years (like ours can be used for a maximum of 2 years) and they are ‘pocket friendly,” she said.
Dlodlo also added that her organization targets rural communities in Plumtree, especially in Tekwane.
“We are well aware of serious water and sanitation problems. Our target areas are rural places, especially in Thekwane and other rural in Plumtree, I’m from there and they rarely face water problems there,”
Dlodlo hails from Plumtree, Tekwane in Bulilima district and is a final year student at Lupane state university studying towards a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in languages and communication.
She is also an entrepreneur, Adolescent Girls and Young Women’s advocate working with DAWA (Development Agenda for Women and Girls in Africa) as well as the founder of Igugulethu Foundation which was formed in October last year.
With more than three million girls in Zimbabwe menstruating, there is high demand for sanitary wear.
Those most likely to experience period poverty in Zimbabwe are underprivileged girls whose parents or guardians cannot afford to buy tampons, pads, or menstrual cups.
Some use unhygienic rags, cardboard, newspapers, tissues, shoe socks, leaves, cow dung, and other unsanitary means to try and manage their flows, which results in infections, leakages, and discomfort.