Wednesday 12 August 2015

Coping with your period without sanitary products?

Can you imagine what would happen if you took 5-7 days off work or school every single month?

In South Africa this is a reality for 100’s and 1000’s if not millions of women every single month. In fact we are talking about 4 million girls who can’t afford to buy sanitary products

How long does the average period last? Well that’s how many days young girls miss every month of school, their education, and their freedom.

40% of girls drop out of school by the age of 14 due to absenteeism when they have their periods.
73% of girls aged 11 have no idea what a menstrual cycle is and aged 11- 14 and 86% of girls have no idea they are fertile when their periods start and during their period.

If you can’t afford to provide food, clothing and struggle to put a roof over your family’s head, how do you find money every month to buy sanitary products for yourself or your daughter?

Dignity Dreams, run by Sandra Millar, is an organisation tackling the problems of affordable sanitary products. Not only does a Diginity Dream pack reduce the risks of infections from young girls using dirty rags and newspapers, it cuts down on the number of school days missed, therefore  allowing girls to continue their education, rather than dropping out due to so many days being missed and tackling issues of poverty further on in life. The production of the Dignity Dream packs enables small businesses in the manufacturing of the packs.

What does a Dignity Dream pack include?

Presented in a colourful drawstring bag:
3 pairs of pants
6 beautiful, feminine pads, folded to look like a handkerchief or small wallet. The pads are waterproof and have wings and fasten securely with a press stud.
A plastic zip lock bag for soiled pads.
An instruction leaflet.


An average period lasts for 5 days using approximately 5 pads per day, equating to 25 pads per month at the cost of R40 per month, R480 per year.    

A pack of Dignity Dreams pads cost R140 for a set of 6 pads which will last up to 5 years. Making a saving of R340 in the first year alone. The government have set the basic minimum wage at R2500-R2950 per month. The average, bus and taxi costs are R650 per month. Take off child care costs of R200 a month and add in food and water and education, forget clothing, more than 2 sets is a luxury for most people, but at least they don't have to budget for electricity and water as they just don't have it supplied in the townships.

The reality of this is at the end of the month, there is no money for luxury items such as sanitary pads, there may not even be enough money just for food.

So what can you do to help? 

You can visit Dignity Dreams and see some of the fantastic work they do in local communities. They also make the packs themselves giving valuable work to local people who are trained by Raisibe Welhemina Ratlou a seamstress, who also over seas quality control and has been instrumental in gathering information from the townships and informal settlements.

To make payments direct to Dignity Dreams please add the SWIFT code SBZAZAJJ and mark you donation CR so we can let you all know how many packs were donated. You can also make a paypal donation to Angel of Hope by clicking here, marking your donation as DD, as I am fund raising for other projects also.


  1. What an eye opening post, it's something so many of us take for granted; sanitary wear, education, etc.
    I've shared the post in the hopes more people see it and can donate.