First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa hands over certificate of participation to Amanda Fero in Chitungwiza on Monday. — Picture: John Manzongo
ZIMBABWE’S womenfolk could have improved menstrual hygiene and beat prohibitive costs of sanitary wear if they fully embrace reusable sanitary pads being promoted by health ambassador First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa as part of her empowerment drive.
Already, many vulnerable girls and women are benefiting from a reusable sanitary pad sewing project the First Lady started in Chitungwiza.
Prohibitive costs of sanitary wear exposed girls and women to health risks as they resorted to unhygienic means which expose them to diseases and in some instances, girls missed out on their education as they often did not report for school.
On Monday, young girls in Chitungwiza who were provided with sewing machines, materials and other accessories to sew pads invited the First Lady to see for herself the work they had done.
The girls sew many pads which they wanted the mother of the nation to help them distribute to their fellow sisters in various schools around Chitungwiza.
The schools selected those who are less privileged as beneficiaries.
The First Lady visited Zengeza 2 where she met young girls drawn from schools around the area and distributed the pads. She also took advantage of the meeting to educate them about Covid-19 and vaccination.
“Today we are gathered here because of the work we started together and I threw you a challenge as my ambassadors. You worked hard and invited me over today to see what you did. I asked these girls (ambassadors) what they intended to do with the pads after sewing and they told me they wanted to share with their peers who are less-privileged and this was a sign of love, indeed sharing is caring.
“It is a good thing to teach children good manners while they are still young. To those who did not join the sewing programme, I encourage you to learn from your peers,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa said she was leaving the sewing machines with the community. She added that the elderly in the community could also start their sewing clubs to earn a living and teach the youths to sew even clothes.
“It is essential for a woman to use her hands naizvozvo madzimai mamachines aya handisikumatora ndinoda kuti mumashandise kuita mabasa emaoko modzidzisawo vana kusona zvakaita senhumbi dzavo.
“I hope this will reduce children’s mischief in communities seeing the work being done by their colleagues. To my ambassadors, you have done me proud and have called me after a short while. Well done my daughters,” she said.
After distributing the reusable pads in Zengeza 2, the First Lady proceeded to Unit A where other ambassadors from various schools around the area are stationed.
A similar programme was held.
“Recently I met with some girls here whom I gave a project to sew reusable pads after they had indicated that the cost of sanitary wear was beyond their reach. I gave them resources to start the project including sewing machines and they were trained by my team from Angel of Hope Foundation.
“They were taught to design a reusable pad and sew it. They learnt to do these things using machines while some assisted through hand sewing because it is not all of us who will have machines wherever we live. If you know how to design, you will then use a needle to sew at home while those with machines can work a lot faster,” she said.
“These girls sew many pads and when I asked them whether they would use all by themselves, they told me that they intended to share with their peers from neighbouring schools,” she said.
The First Lady said she was encouraged by the zeal to share with others that was shown by the participants in the programme.
“This is the way of thinking we want and these teachings on good manners came from the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba programme,” she said.
The mother of the nation implored beneficiaries of the pads, to also take part in the training initiative so that the knowledge is spread among the people.
“I thank these girls for thinking like adults who know and think about others. In a very short space of time they had done well which shows they grasped the teachings and performed well.
“The way they were taught has made us come and view the end product they produced,” she said.
Most parents, the First Lady said, wanted children who learn to use their hands.
“We have grown up and we desire that you acquire all the knowledge that we have as your parents so that in the future you may use the skill and teach your children as well. It is joyous that young children learn and perform tasks as assigned.
“Today I am so delighted that I stand before you at your invitation,” said the First Lady.
She said training programmes were essential to ensure escape from drug and alcohol abuse which were affecting most children today.
“To the beneficiaries, I believe when you go back to your communities and schools, you will share information on what you have seen and learnt here so that you replicate this at your schools,” she said.
After distributing the pads, the First Lady taught the girls on menstrual hygiene urging them to always wash and iron the pads so that they remain clean.
On Covid-19, she said it was critical for people to embrace vaccination and observe World Health Organisation protocols.
“You should always be alert because we are going through a difficult time. We do not know when the pandemic will end, so let us observe the protocols and embrace vaccination,” the health ambassador said.
She said she was grateful for the honour she recently received.
The First Lady handed over certificates of participation to all the ambassadors.
One of the beneficiaries, Elizabeth Mawarura (14), expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her assistance.
“I am truly thankful to our mother for giving us this skill which we shall apply from today into the future. I could not afford sanitary pads, but now I feel more comfortable because of this helping hand we have been given,” she said.
One of the ambassadors, Princess Nechibvute, said she was thankful because she could now sew pads using both her hands and machines.
“We can now sew pads using hands or machines. During lockdown we were just seated at home while some engaged in mischief, but through your intervention Amai, we got something to do. Today we have invited you to see what we did and help us distribute to others who are less privileged,” she said.
Makanaka Arimosa, who also benefited from the programme, echoed similar sentiments.
“What Amai did for us is beyond measure. This is a show of love for us as we now have something to do which will keep us off mischief. I am so happy that I benefited from the programme.”
Another beneficiary, Amanda Fero, said she was awestruck by the care shown by the First Lady and was willing to share the skills she had acquired with others.
“Truly words cannot explain how grateful I am to have a loving and caring mom like you. You brought light into our lives and now we want to share the light with those still in darkness,” she said.
Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko praised the First Lady for her works.
“Our mother is doing great works in the country. She has been championing the cause of the girl child. It’s an honour and privilege to have her here,” he said.
SOURCE: The Herald