End Period Poverty in Zimbabwe

Mikaela Kate
Posted May 24, 2019
Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust
Mission: To foster menstrual equity and champion the eradication of period poverty in Zimbabwe in order to improve the socioeconomic condition of women and girls.
 Stay in school, Girls!
Stay in school, Girls!: Promoting girls to stay in school and women not to miss out on different opportunities by removing all barriers caused by menstruation (1/1)

Hello, My name is Mikaela kate.  I was raised in a male dominated American household.  As a young woman, I was given a tiny book about menstruation and was shown where the supplies were hidden in the bathroom.  The only thing my mother taught me about my monthly blood was to roll our pads and tampons in layers of toilet paper, hide the used ones in a bag and sneak them out to the garbage, making sure my father or brothers would not see our "disgrace".   My mother used no words, just generations of gestures.

 When my daughter was a 1 year old, I handed her a needle and thread and we began our delightful journey of creativity together.  I was determined to model for her a new paradigm of giving, of living slow and of real communication.  We lived with little money, practicing attatchment parenting, music and handstitching.  We stitched dolls and toys and also, cloth menstrual pads.  I wanted her to grow up slow, to use her hands, to know her body and to be a powerful woman. ( and She is!!!!)  I used cloth and gave away cloth pads to any one i could influence (which were very few back then).  As a family, we lived for knowing the culture and music of Zimbabwe. The kids were raised emmersed in a community of music makers. I did my best to provide a sense of "village" in a world of "independent" Americans and Zimbabwean musicians..... Looking back, it was quite the adventure.  We made plenty of learning mistakes in appropriation but mostly, we found love in our work and life long friends from Zimbabwe.  It all makes a good story and because we took risks steering away from American greed and towards offering our family togetherness as a gift, our kids are aware world citizens.  Im grateful for this now.

My Life is devoted to end the shame around menstruation. My own shame story isnt the focus here, or the fact that my sisters and I always had sanitary products, tho my story gives perspective.   I was given a head start in so many ways, just by growing up in a world where i always had food, shelter, clothing (and pads).  I never thought about it as a child.  Being comfortable was a given.  I want to focus here on Action.  Its time for the West to GIVE.  To give towards the millions of women, world wide who have so much less. Its time for balance.

I have led many stitching circles for both girls and women.  We sing, stitch our pads (and dolls), nurture eachother and talk about the things that matter.  I have a desire to share simple ways women living in poverty can use easily accessible used clothing to make pads for themselves.  i have visions of women all over the world sitting in circles, weaving our fabric of life and experience together, for all of our daughters. 

i have joined with Theresa Farai Nyava of Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust to create a GofundMe Campaign.  Theresa and her comrades are so inspirational!  They are making huge differences in Harare, Zimbabwe for girls and women both in distribution of products and education but also in thier tireless lobbying to change the laws and to end period poverty in Zimbabwe.  Gofundme does not serve Zimbabwe directly, so i have offered my bank and my social media as their platform in America.  My goal is to listen and act on what SAZT asks of me.  i offer my practiced silent presence. I take care to listen more than speak because i feel the western world has gone overboard in the leadership arena.  i want to hear the voice of women world wide and act from this place.  

To donate to Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust:  https://www.gofundme.com/end-period-poverty-in-zimbabwe

Life is a gift.  Thats why i give mine to people i know i can quietly lift up and encourage.  i am devoted and determined to make a difference where my gifts can be used.  

Thank you for coming close, lets have tea  

 

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 17

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Lisbeth
May 24
May 24

This is an amazing story. Menstrual poverty is the most cruciating poverty to experience. So as part of your project do you distribute these sanitary pads to the girls and women? Splendid! I wish you the best with your fundraiser and thanks for sharing your rich experience with us here. Hope you are having a great day.

Mikaela Kate
May 24
May 24

Thank you Sis. Salifu for your comment and your experience. i look forward to hearing your story so that I can be of better service to ending period poverty world wide. i live simply so that i can put my attention on gifting pads, educating girls and women in the art of self care and organizing funding for Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust. Much Love

Lisbeth
May 24
May 24

Dear Aunty Mikaela, I have shared mine already. You can read it when you visit my profile and go to stories. I will be glad if you extends your gifting pads to us in Ghana. I will be ready to lead you. Thanks

Mikaela Kate
May 24
May 24

i love your story and am inspired by your realizations and your actions to keep girls in school. i look forward to staying close about providing your community with cloth pads. Have you tried making your own pads yet?

Lisbeth
May 24
May 24

We will be glad to use your pads in Ghana here. I have never made my pads, apart from the rags long time ago. Its not too late to learn anyway. I know how to weave already just that something like that never pop in my mind.
Pls my email is
salamsh2001@hotmail.com
We can plan and discuss more. Thanks
Lizzy

Mikaela Kate
May 24
May 24

I sent you an email, Lizzy with a pattern attached. We will keep talking and working on pads together. You are inspiring. Thank you

Lisbeth
May 24
May 24

Thank you!
I have replied to it.
Hugs

Jill Langhus
May 25
May 25

Hi Mikaela,

Thanks for sharing your menstruation story, as well as your work, passion and mission. I love your vision of the stitching circles worldwide. Do share your website and/or social media page(s) when you have a moment so I/we can follow them. I'm looking forward to seeing more stories from you.

Hope you're having a great day!

Tamarack Verrall
May 25
May 25

Hi there Mikaela Kate,
What a beautiful story, what tremendous work, and the smiles on the faces of those young women say it all. Big welcome to World Pulse, and what a great moment for your first story, on the very subject you have dedicated years to. Your own beauty shines through your words. I am so glad to meet you here.

Mikaela Kate
May 25
May 25

Tamarack, how inspiring and encouraging to hear from you. I'm so happy to be here. Thank you!!

Z.Elias
May 27
May 27

Dear Mikaela,
I’m glad to hear that your taking your path in eradicating period poverty especially with young African girls, I agree that we should make an end about the stereotypes tidying us about menstruation, and change the idea of « disgrace » by « a biological phenomenon ».
I like your humanitarian action, please keep going!
Thank you for sharing.

Mikaela Kate
May 27
May 27

Z, I feel like Ive come home! So many fella nurturers and activist as passionate as I am. Its so refreshing! I look forward to seeing you more offer.

Z.Elias
May 27
May 27

The pleasure is mine.

Mikaela Kate
May 30
May 30

Mmmm ❤

Hello, Mikaela,

How resourceful you are, and you've made a great bonding experience with your daughter. How wonderful that you lead stitching circles with girls. Very inspiring movement you have there. Thank you for sharing. I love the beautiful women on your photos. Please update us. Keep writing.

Mikaela Kate
Jun 02
Jun 02

Thank you Karen, I will keep writing. Right now im putting together a picture documented, step by step process of hand stitching your own pads. my hope is that we find ways for women living in poverty to use clean, used clothes and a needle and thread to make their own pads. This group is so full of encouragment and kindness. much love to you.

Oh, yes please. Wow, that is so generous of you to teach us how to do our own pads. Yes, this is the World Pulse culture. Much love to you do, dear sister.

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