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UK-Based Zimbabwean Designer Launches Reusable Pads Project

By Faith Chimutsa

UNITED Kingdom based Zimbabwean fashion designer unveiled a reusable sanitary pads sewing project to Shamwari Yemwanasikana girls club  to her rural home of Mrehwa.

The project seek to address the need for disadvantaged girls who can’t afford to buy the disposable products and by other means creating a source of income.

Presenting a donation of five reusable sanitary pads sewing machines and sewing materials to Ward 8 Girls Club, the fashion designer, Yvonne Gambe said she learnt about the challenges facing girls during their menstrual cycle from her former high school friend, Ekenia Chifamba, who is the director of Shamwari Yemwanasikana community based organization.

“After hearing and knowing the challenges facing our young girls, instead of donating finished sanitary pads, I thought of empowering these girls with the area I’m experienced in by giving them skills of producing reusable sanitary pads.

“I believe with these skills, our girls will be able to support other girls and their families,” explained Yvonne Gambe.

There are disturbing reports that girls from the disadvantaged communities use cow dung, old rags or leaves as they can not afford disposable sanitary pads.

Considering schools are a distant away in the rural areas, due to discomfort girls from this ward could also miss school during their menstrual cycles owing to lack of pads.

“This is just the beginning, I will be with you along the way, I will make sure that you will get any necessary experience you would need, keeping you abreast with the fashion advancements,” Gambe assured the girls.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Mrehwa North Ward 8 Girls Club, Programmes Officer, Fadzayi Mudekwa (25) applauded Yvonne Gambe’s gesture.

“We are really excited by this act, this donation will go a long way in helping us.

“When we get the skills, I believe we will not have any abstraction in our studies for the period of poverty has been our setback,” said Fadzayi Mudekwa.

“As SYS we are pleased to have friends like Gambe who act upon seeing an area of need.”

Ruvarashe Ruguva (15), expressed delight for the sewing project and described Yvonne Gambe as God-sent to their Club.

She said the new reusable sanitary pads will restore their dignity and will promote their menstrual health management.

“I want to assure you that we will also help those who are disabled to benefit from what you are teaching us here,” she added.

Mrs Lucia Gwata, a villager from Makwengura village where the donation ceremony was held was short of words when she thanked Yvonne Gambe.

“This donation seems to be centred on young girls but I can see that this project will impact the whole community because even older women are also failing to afford disposable sanitary pads,” she said.

It is evident that by multiple challenges women and adolescents face, promoting menstrual hygiene management is not only a sanitation matter, but an important step towards safeguarding the dignity of women and girls.