A small business in Bathurst in the Eastern Cape is trying to curb the ‘period poverty’ by creating reusable adult and kids nappies, and pads using pineapples.
Millions of South African women miss school, work and important commitments because of menstruation. The fibre from the leaves of the pineapple plant will form the base ingredient for the disposable pads and nappies.
The bromelain found in these fibres is an antiseptic, making it ideal for hygiene and in turn, comfort. The idea behind the disposable sanitary products is to bring dignity back to women.
Supervisor at Leafline factory Funeka Xhanti says, “There are children who can’t go to school because they don’t have sanitary pads and you know how embarrassing it is when you go to school and an accident happens while you are there. But we shouldn’t be embarrassed about this because it is our nature and we also need men to look at us and understand that this is something that we are living with. We must be comfortable enough to say to them, I’ve had an accident because it is something that we can’t change, it is our nature and it will keep our dignity.”
These pads are washable, reusable and environmentally friendly. – a necessary tool in fighting period poverty.
The founder of Leafline Candy Androliakos says, “I think for a year it would cost them about 2 500 as opposed to the disposable which can go up to R70 000. We change R30 a sanitary towel, but if they buy like a pack of 10 it will last them for two / three years. So if you do the math, it looks like it is more expensive but it’s not a single use item. It’s washable, it’s reusable and you can use it up to two years before you have to change it.”
Although this product focuses on poverty alleviation, its low impact on the environment is something to be celebrated.
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Reporting: Yolanda Kambile