Pupils at Dimbe Secondary School in the Svosve area of Marondera yesterday hailed First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for her generosity after they became the first recipients of reusable sanitary pads under a community project in the area that she launched recently.
Amai Mnangagwa gave sewing machines and material for the production of pads in June this year to women in the area, with the aim of improving menstrual hygiene and boosting the living standards of the women.
In an interview with The Herald, beneficiary Priscilla Jera said the First Lady had come to the rescue many parents who were struggling to buy sanitary pads for their daughters.
“I am so excited that Amai Mnangagwa has remembered us as we used to have challenges in accessing pads due to their high costs at the shops,” she said.
A student, Edith Mabiza, said: “Our parents always struggle to raise money to buy pads for us, so this initiative will go a long way in ensuring we have the pads every time we need them.”
School Development Committee chairperson, Ms Erica Mucharwa, said: “As the SDC we know the challenges the girl child always faces during their monthly periods, so we want to thank Amai for remembering our school.”
Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Aplonia Munzverengwi and provincial education director Ms Anatoria Ncube thanked the First Lady for her philanthropic work and for initiating a number of projects in the province, including the pads-making initiative.
“I would like to thank the First Lady for this initiative, which has seen our province benefiting and we are going to distribute more pads to other schools in the province,” said Minister Munzverengwi.
Ms Ncube said: “As the Ministry of Education we know the challenges our pupils face, so this will help them to concentrate on their school work.”
Women in the area have managed to produce 3 098 reusable pads since the beginning of the project in June this year, using the sewing machines and materials donated by the First Lady.
The pads will continue to be distributed for free to vulnerable communities, a development that assists some women who had resorted to using newspapers, rags, grass, tree leaves and cow dung during their menstrual cycle.
Given the multiple challenges women and adolescent girls face, promoting menstrual hygiene is not only a sanitation matter, but an important step towards safeguarding the dignity, bodily integrity and overall life opportunities for women and girls.
It is against this background that the First Lady through her Angel of Hope Foundation in collaboration with the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, has stepped up efforts to end the plight of girls.