– PERIOD. –
One in four girl learners (who menstruate) in South Africa misses school monthly because of a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and support during their menstrual periods. Learners say menstruation is a fact,not a choice, and should be main streamed in conversations and schools so that it stops being a taboo subject.
Until 2020, I had never heard of the topic Period Poverty. When I began researching non-profit organizations in Cape Town, I discovered that there are several that distribute sanitary pads to girls. The more I researched the topic, the more I realized I wanted to create a photo book.
All girls in South Africa deserve the chance to finish high school in a safe environment where they can grow and thrive. Research showed that about 30% of schoolgirls missed school when they were menstruating, as they could not afford the products or have access to them. This means that a girl could effectively lose about 90 days of schooling in a year as a direct result of issues relating to menstruation. The fact that we still don’t have access to sanitary pads for every woman in 2024 amazes me. This motivated me to begin this project.
Inadequate menstrual hygiene affects populations in the developed and developing world, and women living in poverty are especially vulnerable. Menstruation is stigmatized around the world. Menstruating girls are seen as impure by their community, as a result, these girls skip classes while on their period because they are afraid of being teased by their classmates. There is a need for us to come together and fight these taboos about menstruation.
I expressed my idea for the project to Busi Jama, she is a motivational speaker from Cape Town. She told me she could help me to get in touch with girl learners from Bulumko High School in Khayelitscha. In the book, I share images and stories of the girls who participated in the project. Together with the girls, we worked on a creative art project: we made art out of menstrual hygiene products. We spend a couple of hours making crowns, headbands, and necklaces. During this creative process, Busi and I discussed the problems girls encounter during their period. With the support of Busi we were able to create a safe space for the girls to open up and get a better insight into the issues that these girls in public schools are dealing with.
Pads are essential for every girl. You can help ensure that every girl has access to sanitary pads during their periods by joining the community.
Support them now. #freeperiod
As a photographer, I like to collaborate with Social Impact Players like CSI-divisions of big brands or worldwide known NGOS. My work has a higher purpose for social responsibility to be active custodians in sustainable and social brand operations. The goal of my work is to actively get the social message across to the online and offline media and costumers of the brands by showing the brand’s participation into the fight against period poverty.
My work as a visual storyteller will help to get a significant, more positive view of the global issue because social impact players support my work. As a result, period poverty is addressed by these players and their customers can become part of a community that fights this global issue.
Do you want to be part of the community and stop period poverty?
Let’s get in touch.