The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
A PARTNERSHIP between the Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Belmont together with the Rotary Club in the US, the Flame Lilly Organisation, and Days for Girls is set to improve school attendance and dropout rates at Mbuyazwe Primary School in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland South through the distribution of reusable pads after the realisation that lack of sanitary wear was a major reason for girls’ failure to attend lessons every day.
The pilot initiative came about upon the realisation that 75 percent of school girls in Zimbabwe cannot afford to buy sanitary products and reportedly use alternative materials such as cow dung and rags. This not only affects the girls’ health but also strips them of confidence and dignity, with reports saying 62 percent missing school every month due to their period while five percent drop out. This means the girls in Rural schools especially, lose about a quarter of their school year due to menstruation alone.
The donation of Days for Girls was made to Mbuyazwe Primary School pupils last Thursday. The Days for Girls pad are reputed as a washable, reusable, beautiful menstrual health product that’s built to last. Its design, which includes a protective shield and absorbent liner, is backed by the latest menstrual health research and a decade of feedback from women around the world and is regarded as truly sustainable solution that menstruators can count on month after month, for up to three years.
When the kits were delivered, Days for Girls Enterprise Zone workers also provided education on menstrual health and hygiene to the students, teachers, and parents of the Mbuyazwe Primary and Secondary School. In the project, Jeanna Nash represented Days for Girls while Leslie Bassett stood for the Rotary Club in Roswell.
In an interview, Public Image Chair for the Rotary Club in Belmont Michelle Nyathi revealed that the project, a brainchild of Flame Lily Trust founder Panashe Sivindani and her partner Susan Muchirahondo, had been five years in the making.
“Back in 2017 Panashe and her best friend Susan felt pushed to take action against the discrepancies faced by women in Zimbabwe due to the patriarchal nature of our communities. Panashe brought the issue to the attention of Roswell Rotary members and we developed a pilot project with Mbuyazwe Primary and Secondary School that is a partnership among Belmont Rotary, Roswell Rotary Club, and Days for Girls to tackle this issue to make sure that girls in Zimbabwe can go to school throughout the year and give them a chance to lift themselves out of poverty through education.”