60 Bulawayo girls who have found shelter at a dumpsite at Ngozi Mine in Bulawayo on Saturday received a reusable sanitary pads donation courtesy of The Livingstone-Galen Trust.
The vulnerable girls whose lives revolve around the garbage site are among the many others who have little to no access to menstrual health services due to their environment.
Co-founder of the organisation, Phyllis Moyo-Masiye said the organisation aims to provide the reusable pads to vulnerable communities as the cost of sanitary pads continues to skyrocket and most girls are unable to move around and access the pads due to COVI-19 restrictions.
“They are a community that lives on a dumpsite and most of them are unemployed so looking at the cost of sanitary ware, we decided that donating reusable pads would go a long way as they don’t have to worry about the cost very month of purchasing them.
“We managed to get 120 reusable pads for 60 girls as well as 60 face masks for each of the girls. We had a talk with them where the girls were taught how to use the reusable pads and about hygiene issues when one is on their period. They were also given lessons on hygiene what to do during COVID-19,” Moyo-Masiye said.
Severe shortages of products, a sharp rise in prices of pads and tampons, and lack of access to basic information and services about menstrual hygiene management are leaving girls and women worldwide struggling to manage their periods during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Moyo-Masiye noted that the community is an eyesore as the girls do not want to go to school because they fear being segregated against.
“There is no water, they stay in plastic shacks, there are high levels of teen pregnancies, they walk miles to the nearest neighbourhood to collect water, and there is no sanitary place to bath or toilet. They live literally on the dumpsite where the council dumps our garbage.
“The girls do not want to go to school because they say the other kids laugh at them for being dirty, no uniforms, no shoes,” she noted.
A lack of access to clean water to wash, toilets with doors for privacy and difficulty disposing of used products are some examples of the challenges that people face in managing their menstrual hygiene in a private, safe and dignified manner and this is no exception for the girls.
Livingstone-Galen Trust is an education trust that was started in 2016 and has many lines of focus, all aligned with helping the plight of the less fortunate in society.
“One of our long-standing campaigns is help stop period poverty campaign which aims at giving sanitary ware to the less fortunate,” Moyo-Masiye added.