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Responding in Real Time to a Real Need - Menstrual Health

Written by Aja Stefanon, Photos provided by Charline Vuta

In July, local media reported on the fact that rural women and girls had to resort to using cow dung for menstrual pads. As you can imagine, the news was distressing. When the Trust's managing director read the news about girls using dung as pads, she knew the organization had to respond and give back to the community in some way. Conceiving the "For More Than A Cycle/Stitch By Stitch" campaign she leveraged the sewing skills of the girls currently living in the Trust's safe house and the support of the Msasa Rotary Club to go out into communities and provide skills and materials to local girls to make their own reusable pads.

With the support of Msasa Rotary Club of Harare, the young women of Charltan School Trust have been learning how to sew as part of the Trust's vocational skills program and the girls have focused on making cloth diapers and reusable cloth menstrual pads. So far, the girls from the safehouse have taken their skills to the Hopely, Dzivarasekwa, and Epworth communities, training 60 girls during each outreach to sew their own reusable menstrual pads. It's a small step with a big impact -- these girls now feel empowered to manage their own menstrual health with some basic materials. Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it a more sustainable solution than trying to afford the ever-increasing cost of wasteful disposable pads? Yes. There still remains lots of work to be done in this space but local organizations like Charltan School Trust are trying to provide local solutions.

Charltan School Trust seeks more partners in this venture, and if you're an organization that sees the benefit in providing this training to girls in local communities, please contact Charline at

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