December 11, 2006

This is where I can start

Recently, I have become aware of the violence spreading from the Sudan to Chad and even having an affect on the Central African Republic. I am not even sure the government of Uganda has resoled the fighting of the Lord Resistance Army. There has been fighting in Somalia, tense elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is so much more Aids, starvation, and civilian violence. I haven’t spoken about any of this, because I have felt nothing I could say would change things. Where would I start, it is so overwhelming?

I found an article at This is Zimbabwe about Zimbabwe police and Central Intelligence Organization seizing sanitary napkins.

The pads were allegedly seized by police and later the dreaded Central Intelligence Organization was drawn into the matter. The ZCTU had given the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) its allocation of the pads sourced with the help of international partners.

On seizure, the farmworkers were told that the pads had been poisoned by former white commercial farmers, which is a blatant lie as the ZCTU, with the help of international partners and friends sourced for the sanitary ware.

I found out there is a shortage of sanitary products and it greatly affecting the women’s ability to work or to go to school. Sokwanele provides the background and a way to support the “Dignity. Period!” campaign.

This isn’t simply a story about shortages of yet another type of product. Shortages of sanitary ware go to the heart of women’s rights: it’s an issue which raises questions of whether a woman is forced to stay away from work or school; whether she is putting her health at risk by picking up infections or, if she is HIV positive, whether those infections will literally shorten her life span. In short, a lack of affordable hygienic sanitary products translates directly into issues of women’s rights as well as women’s dignity. This isn’t simply a story about shortages of yet another type of product. Shortages of sanitary ware go to the heart of women’s rights: it’s an issue which raises questions of whether a woman is forced to stay away from work or school; whether she is putting her health at risk by picking up infections or, if she is HIV positive, whether those infections will literally shorten her life span. In short, a lack of affordable hygienic sanitary products translates directly into issues of women’s rights as well as women’s dignity.

Read the rest

You may think that an idea to provide sanitary products wouldn’t upset the government, but Ms. Thabitha Khumalo has been assaulted and raped for efforts. The post cited The Sunday Times for the full story.

SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled. SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled.

This is how the government has dealt with the issue. You would think it was bunch of middle school boys. Even with the reactions, Ms. Khumalo has persevered

When an MP raised the issue in parliament, government ministers fell about laughing and dismissed the matter. Khumalo has tried to highlight it through public meetings and distributing scarves printed with demands for affordable sanitary wear. As a result she has been repeatedly arrested and beaten, but refuses to be deterred.

This is a place where I can start. It is not an overwhelming task. Perhaps I can extend awareness. I have placed a button in the sidebar. It links to a This is Zimbabwe post with the information you need; if you want to donate, if you feel you need another way to help or if you want to link to the organization coordinating the “Dignity. Period!” campaign.

H/T Noli Irritare Leones

2 comments:

Moi said...

As my mother would say, "We'eh."

Thanks for this post. I wish I'd found you sooner.

Hathor said...

Moi,
Thanks for visiting.
Unfortunately I don't if that program is still viable. The link went dead.