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Health & Community

Menstrual Poverty Girls: Resort To Rags, Newspapers, Cow Dung


By Elizabeth Nyaguyo


Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust is fighting menstrual poverty in women and girls in different parts of the country through the provision of free menstrual products



To date they have already done three donations.



In an interview with this publication, the organization’s Executive director Theresa Nyava-Machadi said as an organization they are working to end menstrual poverty through the provision of free menstrual products to assist vulnerable girls and women in the country to have proper menstrual products to fight diseases since some women and girls are using unhygienic materials during their monthly periods.



“As Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe we are therefore working to end menstrual poverty through provision of free menstrual products to women and girls who are vulnerable, including those in rural areas, high density suburbs, homeless girls in the streets, female prisoners amongst others so that they can manage their periods with dignity and be in full control of their own menstrual cycles, Nyava-Machadi said.



“Many girls and women, due to poverty they do not afford menstrual products such as sanitary pads, bathing soap, underwear and among others.



“We are also educating girls about menstrual health and hygiene and also boys to normalize periods.




“On top of that, we are lobbying and advocating for laws and policies that guarantee free menstrual products and services to women and girls in order to lift women and girls and allow them to overcome all the barriers that can constrain their potential,” she added.



Since the beginning of this year, the organization has done three distributions so as to help girls and women in the country.



“We have done three distributions so far this year; in Domboshava we did two distributions for menstrual cups and reusable pads, the other one we did it in the streets in January where we gave homeless girls disposal pads,” said Theresa.




“Some are desperately forced to use unfit and unhealthy means such as rags, newspapers, cow dung and other unhygienic means to try and manage their periods every month which exposes them to health risks such as cervical cancer, urinary and reproductive tract infections or even infertility.



“Some girls are forced to miss school every month when they are on their periods because if they go without sanitary wear, they fear that they might stain their uniforms and school chair with blood and mocked by their peers,” she said.



“Some girls are forced into transactional sex to try and find money to buy menstrual products which exposes them to risks of getting STI’s, unwanted pregnancies and also ending up in child marriages.”

Robert Tapfumaneyi