Access Forex has committed to join the fight against period poverty, by donating 500 menstrual cups and 500 pads in hampers that have been distributed as part of the Feed a Million initiative. The organization, which provides remittance services for Zimbabweans in the UK and South Africa, strives to make a tangible impact on the communities in which it operates. As such, Access Forex has committed a seed of USD 200 000, towards a target fund of USD 1 million, to go towards child-headed homes, orphans and the elderly.
In Zimbabwe, the girl child in vulnerable communities fails to access Sanitary wear due to the high cost of sanitary wear and this leads to many young girls turning to unsafe alternatives. The government has also recognized the need to fight against period poverty, and taxes on menstrual products have been suspended since the 2017 budget. The use of menstrual cups has many benefits. They are medically safe and reusable for years, making them a cheaper and environmentally-friendly option. Menstrual cups are convenient to use, can be worn during all activities including sleeping and exercising, and they do not leak when used correctly. All these factors mean that one menstrual cup can make a positive impact on a girl or a woman’s life for several years.
Dr. George Chirwa, Director of Access Forex, shared the importance of providing menstrual cups alongside the UN-recommended food staples included in the hampers. “Vulnerable girls and women in our communities are further marginalized by period poverty, as they are unable to access menstrual hygiene tools and educations. By providing access to menstrual products, we are playing our part to help dismantle the hurdles that vulnerable girls and women face,” he stated. COVID-19, the subsequent lockdown and the impact on our local economy have impacted access to income, further exacerbating conditions for those already living in poverty. Access Forex will roll out the initiative first in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls before spreading out to provide food aid and sanitary products across the country.
The Feed a Million initiative is rolling out in partnership with Caritas Zimbabwe, an organization whose mandate includes integral human development, emergency relief, advocacy, peacebuilding, respect for human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources. Caritas Zimbabwe will not only distribute the menstrual cups but will also educate each recipient on the safe and proper use of the product. Marius Zibgwi, National Co-ordinator of Caritas Zimbabwe, also emphasized the importance of including the distribution of sanitary products as part of the initiative. “There are many issues that intersect to contribute to poverty. We seek to address hunger and poverty through our work, and this strong partnership with Access Forex will help us to work towards dismantling period poverty. By addressing access to sanitary products, we begin to address issues affecting girls’ and women’s participation in education and society as a whole,” he stated.
In this time of national crisis, Access Forex continues to challenge other corporates to join the fight to assist marginalized and vulnerable members of our communities. By collaborating with Access Forex and donating towards the USD1 million goal, local companies play their part in solving local challenges that face the country. The goal to #FeedAMillion is expected to grow beyond the COVID-19 crisis, and Access Forex will continue to implement initiatives to uplift Zimbabweans.