Washable Sanitary towels have been handed out to learners, refugees and at Tygerberg Hospital. The reusable sanitary towels address the exorbitant economic cost of disposable sanitary towels, and conforms with the “keep the girl child in school” campaign. The unaffordability of disposable sanitary towels results in menstruating girls missing school and eventually dropping out and missing out on their opportunity of overcoming their challenging economic circumstances. One disposable sanitary towel can take 500 to 800 years to decompose, as the plastic is non-biodegradable and can lead to health and environmental hazards. The reusable sanitary towels are environmentally friendly and a constructive way of reducing our carbon footprint.
In 2017 WOHSA distributed washable sanitary towels to Grade 7 learners at Bramble Way Primary School and realised that there was an urgent need for more life skills workshops at the school. The three (3) year roll out plan for the programme has been expanded to equip Grade 5 – Grade 7 learners with coping mechanisms to face social situations they are faced with in the community. We are aiming to expand the programme into all primary schools in Cape Town initially and then further afield. The reusable sanitary towel handout with be accompanied by a 2 – 5-day menstrual health educational programme for both boys and girls and a menstrual health book. We aim to recruit and train additional facilitators, including male role models (who will be vetted) to inspire the youth with insightful, helpful, and constructive programmes.
WOHSA is currently embarking on a collaborative project with the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) for the production and distribution of reusable sanitary towel. The SANZAF skills centres will produce the reusable sanitary towels, thus teaching the community skills and facilitating job creation. WOHSA is in the process of obtaining SABS approval for the reusable sanitary towels.