Mthabisi Tshuma, Gwanda Correspondent
ARTISTES from Matabeleland South province have joined in on the initiative to mobilise sanitary pads which will be given to vulnerable girls.
The initiative dubbed “sanitary wear for happy days campaign” is being spearheaded by Zanele Nyathi in partnership with the Hope for Children and Youth Trust, Gwanda Annual Music Festival and artistes from Matabeleland South province.
The artistes include Beitbridge-based Bhadilah, Gwanda-based Bry, Planet Kadder Academy and Kid Celsy who have been made brand ambassadors of the initiative.
Nyathi who hails from rural Gwanda in Samlodi village said the programme targets to ensure girls are able to attend school even during their menstruation days.
Unesco says one in 10 girls in Africa will miss school during their period and eventually drop out; while World Bank statistics show that girls are absent about four days every month, affecting their education.
In Zimbabwe, a study by the Dutch Development Agency revealed that 72 percent of girls in rural primary schools who menstruate do not use sanitary pads.
Said Nyathi: “Sanitary wear is now expensive in Zimbabwe and a few can afford it, especially those who are working. With that, I thought of a vulnerable and an orphan on how they are getting sanitary wear and what are they using for their monthly periods.
“This initiative aims to increase accessibility to sanitary pads for girls in schools, especially those in rural Matabeleland South in Gwanda district. The provision of free sanitary pads to young vulnerable and orphaned girls in poverty-stricken homes will enhance the enrolment and retention of girls in school, thus having a long-term impact on an individual girl and her community development.”
One of the campaign’s brand ambassadors, Bhadilah said: “I saw it fit to be part of this noble idea. We’re very aware that some girls or young women cannot afford to buy sanitary wear for themselves so we’ll be using our social media pages to rally support from fans in order to offer a helping hand in securing pads.” – @mthabisi_mthire