Man successfully runs 'Donate-A-Pad' campaign

HARARE - While most of his age mates spend their time on social media posting selfies and sharing memes, a 25-year-old Chitungwiza man took advantage of his online popularity to advance a social cause.

Last month, Night Tawona Shadaya launched a “Donate-A-Pad” campaign on his social media accounts where he appealed to his friends and followers to donate money towards purchasing sanitary wear for underprivileged girls.

Though it is unusual for a man, particularly of his age, to be advocating for sanitary wear, Tawona is redefining social norms.

Using social media, Shadaya managed to raise $300 in three weeks and donated pads to Murape Secondary School in rural Seke. Shadaya boasts of more than 21 000 and 61 000 followers on Twitter and Instagram respectively.

Murape Secondary School was identified by his followers who donated the money, as a beneficiary.

The donation comes at a time when young girls continue using unhygienic material in place of sanitary wear during menstruation because they cannot afford pads.

They use old rags, pants, old newspapers, leaves, tissue and even cow dung during menstruation which compromises their health.

For some girls, menstruation means missing up to five school days per month, which may eventually force them to drop out of school.

Speaking to the Daily News, Shadaya said: “As men we are aware of some of the challenges women and young girls face. We may not know all the challenges but we are aware of a few. This donation demonstrates that we can positively use social media to make a difference in our communities rather than always spreading jokes.”

When he launched the campaign, Shadaya said most people were sceptical of his intentions considering that he is a man while others assumed it was his way of robbing
them of their hard-earned money.

“Despite being a meme creator, most people who follow me know that I’m always trying to impact society in the most positive way,” he said adding that Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora contributed to the cause when they realised he was not a fraud.

After raising the money, prices of basic goods sky-rocketed. The price hikes negatively impacted on the cause, resulting in the purchase of fewer packets of pads.

This development did not discourage him. He said managed to purchase 11 cartons which contained many 10 by one packets of sanitary pads at wholesale prices.

A quick survey conducted by this publication yesterday revealed that a packet of pads costs between $2 and $2,50 which is beyond the rich of most families.

The social media socialite attributed the success of the project to the support he received from his followers.

“This shows that there is more to social media that just jokes and memes,” he said.

Going forward, Shadaya said he will seek collaborations with organisations that manufacture reusable sanitary wear which, he said, are more sustainable than donating ordinary pads. Reusable sanitary pads are fast becoming popular with impoverished girls, particularly in rural areas. Reusable pads are washed, dried and worn again and can last for more than a year.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the school, a senior teacher Muzvare Roselyn Chihota said most of the girls at the school have challenges accessing sanitary wear.

From time to time, Chihota said, they assist in ease the plight of the girls but they fall short.

“This donation will go a long way in assisting our girls and we are grateful for this donation,” said Chihota.

In February this year, hundreds of girls and women in Harare partook in a march dubbed “Happy Flow Campaign” demanding affordable sanitary wear.

They demanded that the government prioritise the health needs of young girls.

Comments (1)

I applaud his efforts. We need more Zimbos like you.

Moe Syszlack - 17 September 2018

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