Education is the currency of survival, however not an economy everyone has access to. This harsh truth pertains mostly to women and is exemplified for the local female residents in rural areas. Jonathan Dube, Jenman African Safaris Guide, recently spoke to CEO Katja Quasdorf on our “Safari Guide Chronicles” platform about the importance of community project funding linked to tourism. An example given in their discussion was Project Penya – an initiative which supports young women by providing sanitary wear as well as the skills to make their own – consequently providing a greater chance of education and employment.

Penya translated from Shona means “to shine” and this project’s core objective is to empower entire generations of teenage girls to have a brighter future. In the rural areas, monthly menstruation remains to impart social, cultural and financial restrictions on young girls, the result being ignorance of personal hygiene, shame and an inability to attend school. These girls do not have access to sanitary products, and simply cannot afford them every month. This heightens the risk of infection by improvising sanitary wear using mattress foam, leaves, blankets, rags, newspaper and even feathers – this is not only humiliating but completely ineffective.

As a responsible tourism operation, Jenman Africa Safaris supports the Grow Africa Foundation by channelling funds from client’s bed-nights into providing sanitary pads made by a local women’s sewing group – Thandanani. A multi-beneficial approach by collaborating with the women of the village, who in turn assist the girls of the village. The circle of life within the community empowers the cycle of life for future generations of women.

Each year a workshop is held for the year 6 students at Dingani School teaching the girls about personal hygiene, menstruation, as well as how to make their own reusable sanitary pads. These conversations are vital not only for health reasons, but are an opportunity to remind the girls of their abilities and responsibilities towards investing in their future. It is here we encourage and inspire female students to harness their ‘girl power’ and value themselves as respected members of the community.

Without tourism, funds for Project Penya have diminished, affecting the lives of many rural women. By making a donation, futures may be transformed, allowing these girls “to shine”. Contact us to be a part of this change, educating the girls of tomorrow. US $15 provides a panties and pads set for one girl, allowing her to go to school for at least a year. Let’s help each other and spread the word – 20 friends or colleagues donating in unity could support a whole class of girls – sharing the gift of the currency that is education.

To listen to the full conversation between professional guide Jonathan Dube and CEO Katja Quasdorf as they discuss the importance of tourism for community and conservation benefits, click here.