Surviving menstruation without the means

This Women’s Month we reflect on the women that have to be strategic to survive things we take for granted, like monthly periods, Polokwane Review reports.

Tsakani Shikwambani, was raised by her grandmother after her mother abandoned her when she was only a few months old. Life was not easy for her and she shares that her grandmother had to play three roles in her life.

“She is my mother, father and grandmother all in one. I don’t know what was going to happen to me if she hadn’t taken over the role of taking care of me after my mother left me,” she said.

Tsakani first had her period when she was 13-years-old and said it was not an easy conversation to have with her grandmothe as she had never had a conversation with her grandmother about the changes that take place in a woman’s body.

“When I told my grandmother, she gave me two cloths which were used to catch the blood. I only had two cloths that I had to alternate. Sometimes my period got so heavy that I couldn’t go to school” she explained.

To give an idea of just how uncomfortable she must have been, the cloths that she speaks about are strips of different materials that her grandmother sewed together to make thick enough to absorb blood.

She was taken in by a woman from her church who looked after her after seeing her and her grandmother struggle.

Today, Shikwambani has adopted a girl who is in a similar circumstance as her but she assists her with basic necessities for personal hygiene.

“I wish I could help more girls but as soon as I complete my internship and get permanent employment, I will be able to assist more young people from my area.” she explained.

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