Empowering Women & Ending Period Poverty

The small town of Aurora, on the Cape’s West Coast, is tackling period-poverty through a new initiative that provides free sanitary products to all the women in the community. As part of this project, a sanitary pad vending machine has been installed at the local library, which is at the very heart of this tight-knit community made up of only some 800 residents.

This collaborative effort between Aurora-Rietvlei Solar Power and the Menstruation Foundation will ensure that no woman in Aurora goes without the essential sanitary products she needs.

By supporting equal access to education, the initiative aims to reduce the stress caused by monthly cycles. Furthermore, young girls in the community also received support in the form of an educational talk on feminine hygiene and menstruation.

“Our objective is to support socio-economic development initiatives, such as this one, that address the immediate needs of the community and are in line with the solar project’s goals and mission as a caring organisation seeking to leave a legacy of sustainable development in communities where we operate,” explained Shariefa Rhode, Communities Operations Manager for Aurora.

The vending machine is located in the bathroom of the library and is stocked monthly with locally-manufactured, compostable sanitary towels. Tokens are provided to access the pads at no cost, ensuring that young girls and women have a sufficient supply throughout the year. Whatsmore, these compact machines operate on a simple rotation system and do not require electricity.

At the vending machine handover event, which was graced by well-known entertainer and period activist Siv Ngesi, along with other personalities and campaign ambassadors, Siv Ngesi spoke candidly about the Foundation’s mission to make menstrual products readily available to all members of the community.