Thousands of underprivileged girls, across the African continent, have failed to attend school during their menstrual period as 70% of adolescent girls in rural schools do not have access to portable and safe sanitary pads products.
This has prompted various organizations with women issues at heart to initiate fund-raising for such communities. Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe Women Assembly is one movement that has been knocking on every door, even those in South Africa, to raise awareness and fund-raising for the girl child’s health.
Their hard work has not gone unnoticed as South Africa’s, First National Bank through their Festival Mall branch stood up to be counted with a donation recently. The good gesture came in the form of dozens of sanitary pads as part of the FNB Festival Mall’s social responsibility.
“We are humbled to be part of this initiative as we have not been part of such in the past as Festival Mall branch, they are one of our customers who opened an account with us for a good cause and they were able to tell us their intentions, and we felt driven to give our support as a way of giving back to the community,” said FNB Festival Mall Branch, Sales Consultant, Phindile Ndlovu.
“It means a lot to us at branch level to have taken part, and we hope it’s a good start for other branches to follow. I was certainly touched, that there are other children who cannot afford to have such. We can contribute in a very small way to make the difference,”Ndlovu added.
FNB Festival Mall branch offers unique services that are convenient to customers and organisations that prompted the Women Assembly to open a fund-raising account with them.
The Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe Women Assembly chairlady, Melody Mukwasi, who was present at the donation and has been on the ground, advocating for women empowerment in education and health, appreciated the efforts by the FNB Festival Mall branch.
“We feel very happy and honoured and would like to thank FNB, for its kind gesture that will contribute so much to many poor children in Zimbabwe. Some stay out from school for seven days every month due to this situation, now this contribution will make the difference for them”.
“The truth is there are a lot of girls in need, we are looking at raising at least 30 000 sanitary pads per month so we can cover a lot of ground,” said Mukwasi.
Formed in 2014, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe is a movement led by international humanitarian activist Barbara Nyagomo, and has branches in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana all set to assist and empower vulnerable women in marginalised communities.
“We co-ordinate in a lot of poor communities whether they are affiliated to our organisation or not and we urge more corporates to come on board. So far the support has not been much but we appreciate what FNB has contributed,”
Mukwasi also added on the health implications of a girl child without such pads that the consequences are severe if they continue to use unhealthy means during such periods.
“They end up improvising, using tree leaves, they can be infected or even get cancer, and sanitary pads are the only healthy form they can use.
We are appealing to everyone on the African continent and beyond to assist to give a better future to the girls.”
“We believe that if you want to change the world you have to start at a small corner then the small actions will ignite the hearts to spread like fire,” she added.
The Women Assembly besides assisting in health issues, it also empowers young women through projects in agriculture for self-sustainability.
“We all for girl education, it’s a sad natural phenomenal, we want girls to be educated and not missing out on the opportunity to education, we hope with more donations and awareness to this challenge we will have more children assisted.” Mukwasi concluded.