FEEL GOOD | UK athlete on drive to provide sanitary pads for girls in Stellenbosch

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Andrea Mason.
Andrea Mason.
  • Cancer survivor and UK athlete Andrea Mason is providing free reusable sanitary pads to girls in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.
  • The sanitary towels cost to R100 to manufacture and the athlete's charity, Lady Talks Matters, will cover the cost.
  • Mason will embark on another endurance challenge to create awareness for her charity. 

British endurance athlete Andrea Mason is on a quest to raise funds to provide underprivileged girls in Stellenbosch with free reusable sanitary pads.

Andrea Mason launched her charity, Lady Talk Matters, in Stellenbosch early last year and now works to empower young women and raise awareness about "period poverty" and "female reproductive health".

The charity will manufacture affordable reusable sanitary pads and distribute them for free to girls and women in the area. 

"Fifty percent of the population living in Kayamandi is female and an estimated 75% of those women are unable to afford basic period products," Mason said. 

She added about 30% of South African girls miss school due to their monthly period.

READ | Western Cape already bracing for Covid-19 third wave

Being a cervical cancer survivor herself, Mason said besides the concerning figures, female reproductive health and menstrual health were still very much taboo and unspoken about.

Along with the distribution of the pads, the charity will provide women and girls with education and necessary support surrounding their reproductive and menstrual health. 

reusable pads
UK athlete to use the proceeds of her achievements to provide free reusable pads.

Each sanitary package contains three reusable sanitary towels and costs R100 to manufacture per pack, a cost which will be covered by the Lady Talk Matters charity.  

The packages are set to provide women and girls with sanitary products for three years. 


"The plan will also serve as a job creation project as women from the community will be employed by Lady Talk Matters to sew the period products needed for the project," Mason added. 

The athlete, who spends five months of the year training in Stellenbosch, said once she discovered the challenges local women faced, it was a natural step to extend the work of Lady Talk Matters from Great Britain to South Africa.  

"With the project just having gotten underway, I am looking forward to seeing how the efforts of Lady Talk Matters helps with the crisis of period poverty, allowing women to lead fulfilled lives without the monthly worry that the cost, inconvenience and embarrassment of the natural cycle of menstruation brings," she added. 

Mason will attempt to swim 36km across False Bay from Miller's Point to Rooi Els, on her first endurance challenge in South Africa, to raise money for her charity.

The 36km swim, will be followed by a 360km bike ride to the base of the Seweweekspoort in the Klein Karoo, ending in a hike to the top of Seweweekspoortpiek, the highest mountain peak in the Western Cape.

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