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Breaking a Barrier to Girls Education

Contributing to as much as 20% of a girls academic year being intentionally skipped, a major barrier to education for girls in developing countries is a lack of menstrual products and poor access to proper sanitation. According to UNICEF, 1 out of 10 African schoolgirls skip school or drop out of school, because of this. Adding to the problem is the cultural taboo regarding menstruation and feminine hygiene, which results in young women being robbed of their education and leaving them vulnerable to abuse, and gender-based violence.

An innovative project is looking to address this, through collaborative efforts, and is calling on all Namibians to support, and in doing so empower Namibian girls and women. The Women of Round Table 154, in partnership with Sister Namibia and Chelsea Fashions, are aiming at facilitating the distribution of SisterPADS, while empowering woman in developing skills and income generation opportunities.

The SisterPAD is a washable, reusable sanitary or menstrual pad that until now was being made by only one woman in Windhoek. Offering a sanitary and environmentally friendly alternative to disposable pads, the goal of this project is to provide women and girls with a sustainable solution for managing their periods with comfort and dignity. This will be done by training women in rural communities to make their own reusable sanitary pads. Meaning sustainable solutions and possible income generation opportunities for these women.

Hochland 154 Round Table have been involved in the purchase and distribution of SisterPADS since 2016 as part of their Annual Medic Rush project, taking medical supplies to isolated rural communities. According to the team from Hochland 154 Round Table, it was during the 2016 Medic Rush that is became clear that there was a desperate need for such a product, especially in the rural communities many of which are too far and to impoverished to get access to sanitary products let alone to afford them.

“What makes this project so special, is that it is hinged around collaboration. Sister Namibia has been doing such incredible work for many years, laying the foundation of such important work in Namibia. The awareness they have created for this project is so important, but as a donor funded initiative, with such a small staff compliment it has been hard for them to do this alone. This is what makes collaboration pure magic because the Round Table Women’s Project can take the solid foundations that they have laid one step further. This project is something so important for us as a nation, and we are really excited and proud to be able to support this, and with the solid foundations laid, go that much further with the project.” Explains Rachel du Raan of the Round Table Women’s Project.

Aiming at strengthening communities by mobilising girls and women through personal development and training, health and education opportunities, the project is calling on your assistance in making this possible. Donations in the form of 100% cotton material are being requested. Anything from second- hand cotton towels, t-shirts and bedding is being called for which will be used to make the outer material of the SisterPADs.

The requirement is large, as the team needs lots of 100% cotton to make this project impactful. Various collection points have been established around Windhoek, now it’s just up to you ensure that the vision of empowerment for these young girls, is possible.

Collection points include The Yoga Shala, St Pauls School, Windhoek International School, Pulse Gym and more. Hurry as the deadline for collection is the 25th of April 2018.

For more information, call +264 816692666