The Timbavati Foundation & Nourish Empowering Young Girls One Period Pack at a Time
Written by Krystle Woodward, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve COO
With the Timbavati Foundation securing R56 000.00 ($3 740) to be able to reach 200 young rural girls with 1200 washable eco-friendly sanitary pads, they reached out to a Nourish NGO who through their projects produces these wonderful Period Packs with their local seamstresses Ivy and Merlyn. With much excitement, hours of planning and hard work it allowed for the first batch of Period Packs to reach the Timbavati Foundation’s first focus school, Sihlekisi Primary School.
Sihlekisi Primary School, a school that always greets with beautiful smiles and welcoming words, is one of the Timbavati Foundation’s top focus schools with admirable governance. The school grounds are always clean, learners always friendly and the teachers really strive to make a difference in each of their students’ schooling careers.
It was an exciting day for our Timbavati Foundation & Nourish teams as together we launched our first of many Period Pack activation days!
After an extremely welcoming entrance with even a meal shared with the teachers, we split the girls and boys of the Grade 7 class into separate classrooms. Our activation days aim not only to educate the young girls on their body changes but the young boys too. Karen and Bongane, our two Timbavati Foundation facilitators, set off to join the boys to have a meaningful discussion with them about reaching puberty, what it means in a young man’s life as well as a bit about what the girls go through. Breaking all taboos!
For the girls, Melba, Calfonia, Sis Happiness and I entered the girl’s classroom and were met with 31 beautiful but apprehensive faces, as we all know puberty and menstrual health is not an easy topic to talk about when you are a teenager, however, the girls soon realized that it was a safe space they began to participate in the discussion. It wasn’t long before a sense of sisterhood filled the room.
After the educational session, each girl was provided with a beautiful Period Pack which was filled with six (6) washable sanitary pads; sewed with beautiful absorbent & comfortable material, a sunlight soap bar for cleaning and an instruction pamphlet. The girls were then all taught how to use and care for their new material washable sanitary pads.
The young girls were encouraged to use the Women’s Centre based at Nourish which the Timbavati Foundation had funded. This centre is currently in phase 2 of its construction which sees its ‘make-up’ and aesthetics being applied. Washbasins and drying rack facilities are present which the girls may use, creating a safe and private environment for them.
In the final session of the day, all the girls were treated to a calming yoga session, held by Calfonia (Nourishes Yoga Instructor) from Acornhoek community. She taught the girls stretching techniques that they can use when in menstrual pain and calming breathing techniques that they can make use of when their hormones are overwhelming.
Feeling the strong appreciation these young girls had for our support and care made every effort worth it and only motivates us to continue doing more. There are many child-headed households in these rural community areas and it’s not often that these young boys and girls get to have educational discussions and support on topics as important as these.
We are so grateful to partner with such a well-established non-profit organization such as Nourish and thank them for the collaboration and joining of hands to make this all possible.
We look forward to the next activation day!