The Wireless Female Network (WFN) in collaboration with the Phoenix Plaza, Shoprite and Northmead Secondary School commemorated International Day of the Girl Child recently by launching the first Menstrual Station for South Africa.
The Menstrual Station, called the ‘Red Centre’, is based at Northmead Secondary and is one of the many steps taken by the WFN to create menstrual health ecosystems in communities. It was launched on October 11.
The WFN was founded in 2018. It’s a recognised organisation based in South Africa with ambassadors in 17 countries, across four continents, and with more than 300 volunteers. The organisation focuses on the socio-economic advancement of women, girls and youth, with menstrual health and wellness being their biggest channel.
Valerie Naidoo, the founder of WFN, said they were working with Northmead Secondary to ensure that those affected by period poverty and a lack of access to menstrual health education would receive ongoing one-to-one and group support.
“WFN will also officially appoint a menstrual health coach trained by myself at the school to ensure that both girls and boys are adequately guided as steps are taken to create a period-friendly environment.
“Through engaging programme content and support from the school's social worker and menstrual health coach, WFN will afford learners the opportunity to confidently lead in conversations in menstrual health management, while having a constant supply of period products on-site.
“This will lead to improved attendance and performance of the girl child. The menstrual station at Northmead school is a game changer that will ensure all 500 girls menstruate with dignity,” said Naidoo.
She said the collaboration with the Phoenix Plaza and Shoprite represented the next phase of the WFN’s global role in elevating South Africa and the African continent with regards to impacting menstrual health management.
“The idea of a menstrual station was started in 2022 by Kylie DeFrance, a teacher from Texas. She wanted to have a constant supply of period products at school so that the girl child would always have access to period products when required. When a girl is educated, the investment does not only impact the girl, but her family, neighbourhood and probably her entire community. The WFN will be travelling to other provinces to launch menstrual health stations.
“Both the Phoenix Plaza and WFN believe the girl and boy child have the right to participate and can move the world in a positive way towards achieving menstrual equity. In our collaboration, we are reaching out to as many girl and boys as possible around the globe, to empower them as future agents of change.”
Mabel Zuma, the deputy head of Northmead Secondary School, said: “We are excited to collaborate with the WFN on the Menstrual Health Station. It’s a wonderful continuation to the journey of WFN’s progression towards guiding schools, universities and companies to embrace menstrual health and wellness ecosystems.
“Instead of just talking about the future, we want to meaningfully impact the girl and boy child in deconstructing menstrual stigmas and confidently lead in conversations and projects to end period poverty. We are living the African dream by taking steps towards a period-positive world.”