MORE than 5 000 disadvantaged girls in Bushbuckridge alone had been benefiting from re-useable sanitary towels over the past seven years.
This is due to the hard work and dedication of Chriselda Ndlovu, the founder of the initiative, who told NewsHorn that the Cef-Pads drive was part of her community development project.
Ndlovu said she originally used to distribute sanitary towels to disadvantaged girls in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and across the border into Mozambique.
“As I was running the programme, I realised there were countless needy girls who needed support. I was distributing both disposable and re-usable sanitary towels. I used to source the re-usable pads from suppliers in other provinces since I didn’t know about any company manufacturing such in my province,” Ndlovu said.
“As a social enterprise for sustainability, our products include all women, we have washable and re-usable sanitary pads, nursing pads for breast-feeding moms, baby diapers inserts and panty liners for everyday use,” she said.
“We give new moms nursing pads. It is indeed pads with purpose. We have more in stock and we invite individuals and corporate companies to join hands as we end period poverty,” she added.
When asked what motivated her to start the initiative, Ndlovu said she was inspired by her upbringing.
“I knew how it felt to miss school due to a lack of sanitary towels. I was not raised with a silver spoon in my mouth and I am glad that it made me streetwise. When the girl child reaches puberty and their menstruation cycles start, the fear and rejection stage is common among them, particularly on the very first day of their periods they don’t have access to sanitary towels at all. It makes their situations more painful, therefore I heeded the call to be the help I once needed,” Ndlovu explained.
She said the pads were not new on the market. Cloth pads are free of chemicals and the fabrics used are breathable and kind to skin.
“Not only because of the cost-effective part, but also no surprise leakage, the pad is comfortable and you can wear it longer than the normal pad and it would contain no stain at all. The products are also environmentally friendly, washable and re-usable,” Ndlovu told NewsHorn.
The cloth pads are a long-term solution and with proper care, the producers say it can be used for three to five years.
· Meanwhile, another cloth-pad manufacturing factory had recently opened in Nelspruit.
Retired gynaecologist, Melenie Mamba, said the cloths pads were safe to use provided the user did not add chemicals to it.
“I will recommend them to anyone who feels comfortable using it because before the modern pads were introduced, women were using the cloth pad and they were fine. My advice is that those who are using these must not use chemicals (see below) to clean it because that might cause infections,” she said.
Dr Sadhvir Bissoon, standard executive at the South African Bureau of Standards had advised consumers that there were no SABS approved re-usable sanitary towels available in the country. “The draft standard, South African National Standard 1812 for the manufacture of washable, re-usable sanitary towels for external use is still under development. This means that there is currently no South African national standard that the products could be tested against,” Bissoon said.