Founded in 2015, the Serithi Campaign aims to curb this growing crisis, restoring dignity to and empowering young women who are unequipped for their menstrual cycle.
“Menstruation can be a challenging time for young women, which is compounded for someone who does not have any hygienic options,” says founder Nobuhle Mtshali.
“Girls start using unhygienic and uncomfortable products, such as old socks, cloth or even newspaper, and some opt not to leave their home while they are menstruating. The physical and psychological effects this has on a young girl child are tremendous. Many end up resenting something that is a natural and beautiful component of womanhood. Furthermore, they are being left behind by their male counterparts because of something they have no control over.”
Campaigning for change
Since its inception, the Serithi Campaign has partnered with the Department of Communications and the Adopt-A-School Foundation to reach over 100 learners in different parts of Southern Africa. Teachers have spoken about how menstruating is no longer a reason for pupils to stay away from school and offered them a sustainable solution in the form of a menstruation cup.
“The main difference between the menstrual cup versus other sanitary hygiene products is that the medical-grade silicon cup collects rather than absorbing fluid so it can be cleaned and reused. The benefits, both economically and environmentally, are tremendous. In the five-year span that one menstrual cup is used an average, a girl would have gone through close to 1 000 pads,” explains Mtshali.
Mtshali says the organisation is aiming to reach more young women across the country. “We also intend to work towards providing young people in school with better ablution facilities, as well as educate and change the way young women and men view periods. The goal is to change the world, one girl at a time.”
Mtshali’s advice for young women:
- Embrace your flow – it’s natural and a source of life.
- Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you cannot change the world. They don’t know the power you possess.
- Your vision is yours to fight for. You are the advocate of your dreams.