One out of ten teenage girls throughout Africa’s most rural regions misses a considerable amount of school each year, as much as 25 % annually, due to the humiliation and stigma related to menstruation simply because they do not have access to or cannot afford basics such as sanitary pads. Instead, they are forced to improvise by using mattress foam, bits of blanket, rags, feathers, leaves and even newspaper which are not only humiliating but ineffective. More often than not they simply choose not to attend school during their period and in more extreme cases drop-out altogether.
Different from what many people believe, menstrual health is not just a “women’s issue”. Female hygiene should be at the top of each government’s list of priorities. In 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that “The greatest return comes from investing in girls and women. When they are educated, they drive development in their families, communities and nations.” Without access to basics such as menstrual pads, these young women are unable to be the drivers of economic development which they have the potential to be. Sadly this is not the case with governments only offering unfilled promises.
In keeping with our company ethos, we have partnered with SubzPads to provide Dingani’s school girls with a sustainable and eco-friendly solution to menstruation. Subz Pads provide washable sanitary pads and panties that can be reused whilst also hosting a series of educational workshops and motivational talks to encourage these young women to focus on building their careers ahead. Penya translated from Shona means “to shine” and this project’s core objective is to empower entire generations of teenage girls to have a brighter future.
As a responsible tourism operator and conservation-driven business, Hideawayzs strives to not only make a positive impact on the environment but on the rural communities and the economy of the areas we operate in as well. By working hand-in-hand with these communities, we promote the long-term preservation of our wilderness areas through education, upliftment and understanding their economic benefit.
We are aiming to supply each of Dingani Primary School’s Grade 6 and 7 girls with a set of Subz panties and pads on an on-going and sustainable basis. We will also use these funds to organise the educational and motivational workshops.
As one person, you have the opportunity to change a girls life. Together we can abolish an unnecessary and destructive stigma. Starting on the 8th of December 2016, Hideaways is asking the public to donate just $ 15 to help a girl stay in school, giving her a fighting chance at a better life.
What are Subz Pads?
Subz Pads are eco-friendly, washable pads and panties that can be re-used. The panty itself is made from 100% cotton, and the pads are made from 5 layers of hydrophilic fabric which clip onto the panties. Girls can wash them in the privacy of their own home, and use them again. It is a hygienic, sustainable and long-term solution.
A headmaster from a South African pilot project told us that when a pupil of his began using Subz Pads, her marks improved dramatically from 48% to 85% simply because she didn’t have to miss school while she was menstruating. This is instrumental in gender equality and giving girls the same chance at education as boys. It’s important that girls understand their value and importance.
About the Project Penya workshops
Hideaways will provide Dingani’s girls with informative and in-depth talks focusing on the changes that their bodies are experiencing, how to control what is happening, and why it is important to remain in school. They will also be provided with exposure to different career opportunities and be given the chance to experience what it’s like to work in the real world on a ‘work shadow’ basis.