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Teen is on a mission to address period poverty

Life experiences of young women turned teen into a Good-Samaritan.

Tiamara Andrew did not want to just sit back and watch when she learned that young girls from underprivileged schools struggle to access sanitary towels during their periods, instead, she took matters into her own hands and offered a helping hand.

The 15-year-old from Dainfern in Fourways, said she was touched by the stories young women from disadvantaged backgrounds shared with them during their previous pad drive initiatives, and even though she was still young, Tiamara said she was able to get into their shoes.

“I was young at the time. Now that I am older, I have become more motivated to address the social issue of period poverty whilst experiencing my menstruation cycle,” said Tiamara.

“I was distraught knowing that many disadvantaged girls miss school and are exposed to hygiene risks, due to not being able to afford sanitary pads. Knowing the effects of period poverty has touched my heart and my mission is to put an end to period poverty in Africa and thereafter around the globe.”

And when she had a sit down with her parents to detail her pain and vision, Tiamara said they did nothing but rally around her.

“They were very supportive and guided me and affirmed their 150% support. I pitched my vision to my parents over the breakfast table as mum and dad were discussing the Idle Auto Expo which will be held at Montecasino on August 5 and 6. My suggestion was to utilise the Idle Auto Expo Platform in order to address period poverty and they agreed. My passion is purely to change the narrative for as many girls facing period poverty.”

Tiamara who is in Grade 10 said what makes her unstoppable when it comes to helping others, is her irresistible desire to instill change in society.

“My motivation arises from previously being involved in outreaches from a very young age. Seeing people in bad situations motivates me to help them change their storylines. I firmly believe that sometimes we just need one person to see our full potential, and that is truly where my passion lies because I want to make it known that your circumstance does not define your future.”

Tiamara set a target of a minimum of 1500 pads which will be distributed to underprivileged schools in and around the Fourways area. She said she was guided by the Department of Education after a thoughtful meeting about where to start.

“All the donated sanitary pads will be distributed on July 23 at Montecasino by the Idle Auto Expo Sanitary pad drive to the allocated schools in the Fourways area.”

When asked about what she hopes to achieve with this pad drive, she explained that the aim of the Idle Auto Expo – Pad Drive is to ensure that disadvantaged schoolgirls receive a one-year supply of pads.

“This will eventually result in these girls attending school regularly and overall restoring the girls’ self-esteem and dignity. Tackling one area at a time will bring global awareness and together we can end period poverty,” she added.

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