How a 12-Year-Old Girl Became a Champion Against Period Poverty

How a 12-Year-Old Girl Became a Champion Against Period Poverty
0077 Multimedia Tamara Magwashu (R) wants to make sure that young women have access to sanitary pads

The Fight Against Period Poverty in South Africa is Being Revolutionized by a Young German Girl

The work of South African period poverty advocate Tamara Magwashu had a tremendous impact on a 12-year-old German girl named Caity Cutter. Upon reading in a BBC piece that thirty percent of South African girls do not attend school because they do not have access to sanitary supplies, Caity orchestrated a substantial philanthropic contribution to bolster Magwashu’s initiatives. As a game-changer, Magwashu praised Caity’s initiative.

The 28-year-old Tamara Magwashu hails from the Eastern Cape area of South Africa. Her determination to save young girls in her neighborhood the humiliation she had endured—using rags as sanitary pads and bullying—was fueled by her own experiences. With the goal of reestablishing the human rights of girls in need, Magwashu started her own company to provide free sanitary pads to schools in rural, poor regions.

Caity was troubled by the inequality in the availability of restrooms, period products, clean water, and Magwashu’s story because it rang true to her own experiences. In Duncan Village, close to East London, Caity found out that Magwashu’s family shared a public restroom with about fifty other individuals. Caity felt this was unfair because it stood in such striking contrast to contemporary achievements like space travel.

Because she felt compelled to help, Caity persuaded her father, Michael Cutter, to donate Magwashu’s cause all of his charitable savings. With the huge donation, Magwashu’s nonprofit, Azosule, was able to provide 500,000 pads to disadvantaged girls. It also helped pay for a warehouse and employees so they could ramp up their distribution.

The charitable arm of Magwashu’s business, Azosule, delivers more economical and environmentally friendly sanitary goods in addition to free pads to schools in the poorest regions. The group has gone so far as to partner with Makro, a grocery chain in South Africa, to distribute sanitary napkins across the country and even to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Approximately seven million girls in South Africa do not have access to affordable sanitary goods, adding to the millions of girls affected by period poverty worldwide. The World Bank estimates that 500 million girls and women around the world live in period poverty because they do not have access to menstrual hygiene products. The problem goes beyond only the availability and price of pads. According to research conducted by J-Pal Africa, there was a noticeable improvement in academic skills and the chance of females moving on to the next grade when they were provided with sufficient washing facilities and received information on menstrual hygiene.

Caity learned from her relationship with Magwashu that providing financial support for period goods was just half the battle. Additionally, Magwashu’s teams go to schools to dispel myths and educate students, both male and female, about the importance of menstrual hygiene.

 

0077 Multimedia
Tamara Magwashu (R) wants to make sure that young women have access to sanitary pads

Using the money she saved from her part-time jobs and student loans, Tamara Magwashu started “pad drives” to bring sanitary supplies to low-income communities. Today, Azosule is able to reach more schools and wants to expand its support to Congo-Brazzaville, where many girls have never seen a sanitary pad, all because of Caity’s efforts and the subsequent gift.

While considering the significance of the German donation, Magwashu conveyed her appreciation, highlighting how Caity’s support had a profound and life-altering effect. Magwashu and hundreds of other girls’ lives were profoundly affected by this generous gesture from someone who does not experience period poverty. Everyone, regardless of age or experience, has the potential to be an advocate in the battle against period poverty; Caity’s actions serve as a striking example of the impact that empathy and resolve can have.

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