In rural communities in Zimbabwe, characterized by ill-equipped sanitation and deeply embedded stigmas, girls can miss up to 25 % of schooling due to menstruation. Project Penya was born when the Hideaways’ Elephant’s Eye Lodge took it upon themselves to fight the taboo of menstruation in sustainable collaboration with the local community. The goal was to empower Dingani’s grade 6 girls with a sustainable solution for coping with menstruation thus enabling them to secure their future through the completion of their education.
Project Penya raised five times more funds than anticipated, allowing for the distribution of award winning Subz washable panties and pads to twice the original number of girls.
Project Penya is now engaging with the community to produce the previously from South Africa imported washable pads locally. Not only does it empower the local women of the Thandanani Project to create a product that is in demand from the community, now that the products are being made locally it cuts down on the carbon footprint of transporting the products from South Africa and keeps the money and supply chain in the country. The women of the Dete community in the Thandanani Project received professional training to create these re-usable pads themselves. The Thandanani Project is a self-sustaining business started by a few local women with basic sewing skills and entrepreneurial ambitions. The ten women, aged between 22 and 61, came together 2009 with nothing more than three sewing machines and a focused plan to together raise a steady income by producing hand-sewn souvenirs. The first sale was made in September 2012 and the business has been growing from strength to strength ever since. The Thandanani Sewing Project now has a constant demand for the product, providing a steady income that is based on local support and not only dependant on foreign travellers’ souvenir purchases. If you would like to find out more please click here.