In a new partnership between UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division (CRD) and The Wireless Female Network, 18 UKZN students will receive a two-month supply of sanitary towels.
Ms Valerie Naidoo, The Wireless Female Network founder and Director said that when students have to worry about fees and studies, sanitary items are not a priority.
‘While many students can afford sanitary care, some come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We don’t want young women to miss out on attending University due to not being able to access sanitary items. When you invest in a girl, you’re not only impacting her future but her family, community and the entire village.’
The Wireless Female Network – a non-profit organisation that focuses on education, technology, diversity and inclusion, and menstrual health – works to end period poverty on the African continent. One of its key goals is the socio-economic advancement of women and girls. In 2021, the Network launched Project Red and it has provided sanitary packs to 2 000 females from disadvantaged communities in South Africa.
Naidoo said going forward they have committed to having regular drives at UKZN every two months so that more students can benefit.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the students, CRD Executive Director, Ms Normah Zondo thanked The Wireless Female Network for choosing UKZN students for their generous donation. ‘For many of our students, affordability is the main barrier to accessing much needed menstrual hygiene products, which exacerbates social and economic inequalities – negatively impacting their student life. We hope this donation will go a long way to address one of the critical needs of our students.
‘We are therefore delighted to partner with The Wireless Female Network, as I believe that the power to drive sustainable change lies in collaboration,’ said Zondo.
Project Red’s initiatives include the Sanitary Towel Bank and Pathways to Dignity – a programme aimed at breaking the taboos surrounding menstrual health by including both genders. It was launched during Women’s month and is being rolled out to schools and women’s shelters in KwaZulu-Natal. Naidoo encouraged UKZN students to participate in the programme. She said they will be adding a “Research” segment to the project during the month of September as there is currently insufficient information on menstrual health.
The donated packs will be distributed to students identified by the Colleges.
Words: Sithembile Shabangu