We started Project Penya with the goal of providing a set of Subz panties and pads to all the grade 6 and 7 girls at Dingani Primary School and now we’re more than three-quarters of the way! There are only 20 girls left who still need a set.
“Every day, thousands of teenage girls in rural Africa miss out on their education due to menstruation”
Sadly, menstruation is still considered a taboo topic in rural Africa. Young girls who have their period have to deal with the stigma, as well as the lack of access to sanitary items – either because they aren’t available or too expensive. These young girls who are already going through a challenging time of dealing with their changing bodies are forced to make alternative arrangements such as substituting regular pads or tampons for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspaper, or even bark. For many girls, this is such a humiliating experience that they often stay home from school during their period or in some cases drop out altogether. This has an incredibly detrimental effect on their education and in turn, their future.
Penya, translated from Shona, means “to shine” and this project’s core objective is to empower entire generations of teenage girls to have a brighter future. Jenman African Safaris in association with Grow Africa strives to make a positive impact on the environment, rural communities and economy of the areas we operate in. Katja Quasdorf, Jenman’s CEO said: “A girl’s period should not hold her back from her future so we are getting involved to make an impact on this issue whilst joining the fight to break the taboo of menstruation in Africa.” Beginning with providing girls with a sustainable solution to menstruation, but beyond this, we will host a series of workshops and motivational talks to encourage young women that they too can focus on a brighter future!
Subz Pads are eco-friendly, washable pads and panties that can be re-used. The panty is made from 100% cotton, and the pads are made from 5 layers of hydrophilic fabric which clip onto the underwear and does not need to be disposed of. This enables girls to take home their sanitary towels, wash them in the privacy of their own home, and use them again. It is a sustainable (and eco-friendly) solution.
It may seem like a small thing to you but to a Dingani girl, it can make the world’s difference. A set of panties and pads for one girl costs R220, or US$15. We only need 20 more sets, as one person you have the opportunity to change a girl’s life.