UK Students Empowering Women In Zimbabwe
Henna and project partner Rutendo are both students at Reading university who have been working on their project Zimpower alongside their studies. Their aim is to empower women and girls in a rural area of Domboshawa, Zimbabwe. They have collaborated with a charity called Creating Better Futures who made them aware of the major issues surrounding feminine hygiene in this area. With this is mind, they aim to give these women financial independence by teaching them how to make the sanitary towels themselves so they can in turn sell them.
Primary research conducted between 2015-2017 showed that girls were using leaves, cow dung, newspapers and random pieces of clothes as substitutes for sanitary ware. Some girls have resorted to giving out sexual favours to men in order to make enough money to buy these pads and this puts them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections. The lack of education on sexual health has propagated the taboo surrounding menstruation. Unfortunately, many girls are being ostracised from society as they are thought to be dirty.