NO BLOOD NEEDS TO BE SHED DURING THIS REVOLUTION/ PAD CAMPAIGN TO PROVIDE DIGNITY TO GIRLS
Borrowing from the youth of 1976 who fought to bring about a revolution in education, Lindiwe Sanitary Pads is looking to incite a menstrual revolution aimed at assisting girls and young women get padded-up.
“Periods don’t go into lockdown. The same challenges that girls and young women were facing when they went to school, they are still facing now in terms of menstrual management. Our aim to is to assist them to have the necessary sanitary products so they may not have to sit any activities linked their livelihoods says Lindiwe Nkuna, owner of Lindiwe Sanitary Pads.
The #1976Girls which kicked into gear on May 25 and will run until the distribution date of June 16, will raise awareness on the plight faced by girls and young women but also provide 1976 girls with a three-month supply of pads.
Corporates and individuals can make a direct purchase with Lindiwe Pads to contribute towards reaching a target 3952 pad packs (two packs per girl) and donate those pads to either NGOs of their choosing or work with the current NGOs the company has in its database.
Nkuna says this is done to democratise the process of distributing the pads across those who desperately need them, rather than have the dispersal of pads concentrated in a particular section or metro.
Nkuna says she created the eponymous female sanitary company because of her experiences growing up. “I started Lindiwe Sanitary pads because I wanted to solve challenges that the people around me and myself experienced. Due to budget limits, girls often resort to using low quality, counterfeit and knockoff pads that leak, break or are uncomfortable and even roll when walking or running. No girl deserves to experience that. It is with this that I decided that I would create a solution, rather than wait for someone to offer it to me,” says Nkuna.
She says, poverty plays a large role in limiting access to menstrual hygiene products, but there is also a cultural stigma around menstruation that causes embarrassment and feelings of shame for some girls.
“Girls already have a hurdle of challenges to overcome, something as natural and consistent like periods should not have to be one of them. Without access to proper education, resources, girls are often forced to stay home from school during their periods, which leads them to miss anywhere from 10-20% of school days, according to UNESCO. And sometimes, they drop out of school completely,” Nkuna explains.
UNICEF has estimated that roughly 1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school because of their periods each year. A study conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics of 1,000 teens ages 13 to 19 found 20% — one in five — of teenage girls surveyed cannot afford to purchase menstrual hygiene products. It also states that two-thirds of respondents feel stress because they don’t have access to tampons and pads, 61% have worn tampons more than four hours, 25% missed class because they didn’t have access to tampons or pads, and 83% think lack of access these products is not talked about enough.
“Due to the lockdown and the reopening of schools still considered tentative for grades outside of grade 7 and 12, we are working with a number of NGOs to assist us to identify and when the time comes to distribute these pads to deserving girls. But we also appeal to all South Africans, from corporate to government and civil society to get involved in this noble campaign in making a difference in the lives of girl children. Those looking to help can reach out to us via our website (www.lindiwepads.co.za) or social media pages @LindiwePads (Facebook & Twitter)” concludes Nkuna.