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The challenge

Period poverty affects women and girls worldwide who cannot afford safe, hygienic menstrual products. Almost a third of schoolgirls in South Africa miss up to four consecutive days of school every month because they don’t have access to products to manage their periods in a dignified way.

Thousands of homeless women face a crisis when they have their periods. From coping with infections to being unable to purchase menstrual supplies, keeping safe and clean on the streets is not easy.

The solution

Doorway to Dignity offers an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and sustainable solution to reducing period poverty. It comprises a kit containing reusable pads that last 3–5 years. The kit also includes a small washing bucket and other items for taking care of the pads.

To date, we have distributed more than 200 menstrual care kits: 92 kits to grade 7s at two primary schools in Westbury, 30 to Cotlands in Johannesburg, 50 to a place of safety run by STOP (Stop Trafficking of People) in the Western Cape, and 50 to a shelter in Hillbrow.

Our initial goal is to distribute 1 000 kits. To this end, we have created a BackaBuddy account for donations to our campaign.

Education, skills development and job creation

An essential element of the campaign is education. Very often, impromptu question and answer sessions develop, during kit hand-outs, which opens the doors for deeper conversations and raising awareness.

The pads are produced by Project Intombi, which operates from Emthonjeni Zandspruit Community Centre, and employs local women from within the Zandspruit informal settlement. The kit’s drawstring bags (made out of t-shirt fabric) are purchased from Upcycle, an organisation that trains people to create new, valuable products from waste.

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