This year we are celebrating our 5th International Women’s Day on 8th March 2019, themed “Balance for Better”. This year we have decided to take it to the grassroots and impact the young women in the rural areas through a Pads Drive. In the past we used to hold a Breakfast celebration and invite women from the corporate, business and entrepreneurial space and host a few girl children from the high schools in Harare.
Our thrust in the past year has changed as we have focused more on the girl children mentorship and leadership development programs partnering with corporates such as TelOne, Steward BANK, Econet, DHL, POSB, BANCABC, NetONE just to name a few.
We have also grown our reach beyond Harare, into Masvingo, Mutare, and Bulawayo through a leadership development program we partnered with TelOne and are in the process of training and mentoring 200 girls.
In addition to the A ‘level scholarships we offer a few girls in 2019 our goal is to impact 1000 girls in the rural and peri urban areas by setting up QueenMakers Clubs and supplying them with a year’s supply of sanitary pads. The first such school is St Peters Claver Secondary School in Chishawasha where we are donating pads to the girls on International Women’s Day.
In the course of our work with the girl children since 2014, we’ve heard some horrendous statistics about girls not having access to the most basic of human rights – sanitary ware during their periods – and it’s having a devastating impact on their school attendance, and future earnings for their families.
|• At least 20% of girls don’t go to school during their period.|
|• On average the girls miss 4 days a month = 48 days a year = 18% of their schooling missed (sometimes over exams)|
|• 67% have spoilt their uniform at least once. Many never to return to school in humiliation.|
|•54% have been mocked, bullied and called names by boys because they were menstruating|
|• 44% of rural retailers do not stock any sanitary wear|
|• For the majority of rural families, sanitary wear is a luxury and never bought|
|What are the girls using now when they have a period?*|
|• 53% use a piece of folded cloth. Not a clean cloth – they may have one cloth to use for their whole period … and they sometimes share this with other family members!|
|• 22% use cotton wool|
|• 21% use disposable pads (the wealthier girls in urban schools)|
|• 4% use leaves / paper|
*Facts obtained from a detailed study by SNV Netherlands in Manicaland District in Zimbabwe in 2012 interviewing schools in urban and rural schools.
Thus the QueenMakers community and partners have embarked on this journey to give the girls a look, a touch and a feel of success by stepping into their spaces and meeting their intimate needs.
Nyaradzo Viki-Mavindidze (Founder)