The Untold Struggle Of A Poor Girl
Growing up in a community with a lot of underprivileged girls, I have come to understand the extent of not having enough financial resources to acquire sanitary wear.
By Martha Zimowa Muzenda
It has been a tormenting time for many not because they hate the process of menstruation, NO, but using old pieces of T-shirts, tree leaves were written all over their faces. Loss of self-esteem during the process has been evident day in day out. My name is Martha Zimowa Muzenda.
Being in the finance department of a local Community-Based Organisation that does Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and Gender-Based Violence programming, I get so worried each time I think of the financial implications and affordability of sanitary wear for our program participants.
And being a mother of girls, I greatly feel the need to ensure that every girl enjoys good menstrual health and hygiene. They don't choose to abide by nature when nature calls. Having systems in place starting with the financial component is key in ensuring that they enjoy instead of continued endurance during this period.
If condoms are given for free for sex that's done out of two people's choice, what more can the government and it's partners do to ensure that pads are accessed for free for this biological occurrence while looking for a more sustainable method to ensure that every girl child enjoys the period. The financial implication is unbearable to many. It's Time for Action.
Is Menstrual Health and Hygiene supposed to be enjoyed by working-class or privileged families only? definitely not. However, the current situation has it that the poor are prone to being disadvantaged. COVID-19 brought yet another financial vulnerability to the already vulnerable sections of our society. Will they enjoy this day as being healthy and hygienic during their menstrual cycle? Definitely not.
I call upon fathers and mothers to support the girl child during this period. Inclusion of sanitary wear on family's budget as a top priority is key. A healthy girl and woman is a healthy nation.
Let us uphold girl child's sexual and reproductive health from a family set up. I got to think of a girl who dragged herself into early teenage marriage simply because her boyfriend buys him pads while her family did not prioritize it. She felt so comfortable and secure with her boyfriend buying her sanitary wear, he won her heart for marriage. But was this right? We all need to take action and protect our girls.
Enjoy your Menstrual Hygiene Day.
#It's Time for Action#
Martha Zimowa-Muzenda Works at Buwalo Matalikilo Trust. She is a SRHR Advocate and GBV Activist based in Hwange, Matabeleland North. She writes in her own capacity.
*This story first appeared on the Media4GenderJustice blog