Entrepreneur’s sanitary pad initiative aims to help girls not miss school
According to research released last year by Stellenbosch University’s Law Clinic, 30% of South African girls miss school during their menstrual cycles due to limited or no access to sanitary products.
Determined to make an impact in improving the lives of impoverished women and girls, cervical cancer survivor Goliath, who is the founder of Milli Distributors, decided to import a sanitary pad called the Glory Pad to SA from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a sustainable option for menstruation.
According to Goliath, the pad helps with fungal infections and menstrual cramps and lasts up to 12 hours. It is also 100% organic and comes in biodegradable packaging.
“It’s great to have a decent sanitary pad that women or young ladies can have during their menstrual cycle. Now I am importing these pads to benefit all females,” Goliath said of the product.
The 36-year-old said she had not allowed her hardships to prevent her from achieving her goals.
In 2017, while in remission from cancer, Goliath got a complimentary ticket for the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum for their annual conference, where women from around the world get together to network.
There she met Hyasintha Ntuyeko, the founder and designer of the Glory Pad, and a business relationship that would help women in SA was forged.
“Being able to afford sanitary pads is a big thing. Many girls are struggling. It is a big part of what I do, which is impacting disadvantaged communities,” Goliath said.
While the work has been rewarding, it hasn’t been without its hardships as funding the business was not an easy task.
“From being declined numerous times, I think there is a lot to do in terms of entrepreneurship and funding,” she said.
Goliath’s hopes are that large retailers will start stocking the sanitary pads by the beginning of next year.
In the meantime, Goliath and her husband Jerome continue to run menstrual education programmes through their New Heritage Foundation non-profit organisation (NPO), which was established in 2013.
In 2016, they established the Girl Programme, where volunteers visited schools to distribute sanitary pads to schoolgirls.
“We now have menstrual programmes for girls. Before it was just handing out sanitary pads, but now young girls receive pads and we educate them through these programmes through menstrual talks,” Goliath said.
The NPO receives donations through various organisations and companies to fund its various programmes and distribution drives, which cater to girls aged 11-18.
They regularly visit Klipfontein Methodist Primary School and different youth groups from Mitchells Plain.