Zimbabwe & Zambia August 2019

‘The Numwa Mothers Sewing Group’ are the founding talented seamstress’ of our reusable sanitary pad kits and together we travelled through Zambia by car starting from Zimbabwe where we embarked on the set up of 5new self-sustained ruralsewing groups and distributed reusable sanitary pad kits to the local schools.

Our aim was to assist and educate the local women, set them up in their own micro-business’ to produce sanitary pads for the vast quantity of women and girls within their communities rendering them self-sustainable.

From Zimbabwe, we travelled to Lusaka in Zambia.  Where we purchased the essential requirements of fabric, thread, plastic etc, as well as sewing machines just before setting off.  We then embarked on long journey up to Mpongwe, a farming and mining community situated in the Copper Belt up North by the Congo border.  We then travelled down to the upper Zambezi which is an entirely rural area lying on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border.  It is  completely isolated and the local inhabitants of the village lead a typical village life.

A very unexpected surprise was the enthusiasm of the men of the upper Zambezi villages who came to participate in our training sessions learning how to make pads and others coming requesting sanitary pad kits for their wives and daughters.

We also distributed reusable sanitary pad kits to school girls in the communities that we brought with us from Zimbabwe that had been made by the Numwa women.

Padding Africa has toured all over Southern Africa distributing sanitary pads including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique. We have set up ladies sewing groups in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique Later this year and next year we will be collaborating with a mining community in Zimbabwe and anti-poaching communities in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

It’s so heart wrenching to hear the overwhelming number of stories concerning menstrual poverty and the need for these woman to find solutions to the problem and the many requests that we have.  My intention is to take our project and make it as widespread as I can. There was a vast lack of awareness that a reusable sanitary towel exists and yet the solution is so simple – provide education and resources and allow these very poor communities to resolve the problem themselves.

We hope to set the basis to what can be an ever-expanding craft, from sanitary pads to clothing or school uniforms, to be sold to friends, markets and shops.