Sprout Foundation, a youth-led non-governmental organisation, has trained vulnerable women in Lilongwe in making reusable sanitary pads to earn a living and help in addressing menstrual hygiene challenges.
Speaking on Saturday at Nthambi Orphanage Care at Chigwirizano in Lilongwe, the group’s executive director Lindsay Katchika-Jere said the project, with support from United States of American-based Shirley Rose Tailoring Academy, seeks to empower vulnerable women from Traditional Authority Malili to be economically independent.
She said: “We’re currently training 10 women in sewing reusable pads. They will sell these pads to earn their living and they will also donate some to other orphanages to address period poverty which is rampant in this area.”
Katchika-Jere said the group will undergo a six-month training before recruiting the second lot.
“This is an ongoing initiative which is targeting vulnerable women and schoolgirls. Our survey found that a lot of girls in this area are dropping out of school due to lack of menstrual products. Some girls or even old women engage in prostitution to get money to buy sanitary pads. So, this project seeks to address these challenges,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, 38-year-old Gloria Kaziko from Mwanamanga Village, said the training will make a difference both to the beneficiaries and those from low-income families.
“With the new tailoring skills, we’ll be able to make reusable pads which we’ll sell for not only our benefit, but also for those who cannot afford conventional pads,” she said.
On his part, group village head Mwanamanga said people in his area will now have access to affordable sanitary kits.
“I’m happy that vulnerable women in this area are now empowered through the tailoring skills that they’ve acquired. They will be able to sell the pads to fellow underprivileged women so as to get by. I hope girls from the poor households will also not miss classes when they are in periods,” he said.