Reusable Sanitary Pad to Change Schoolgirls’ lives

Toronto, ON, October 7th, 2019 – Girls’ equal access to education in eSwatini is jeopardized because their family cannot afford sanitary pads. The 2019 Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund grant was awarded this year to Crossroads International’s partner, BoMake Rural Project  to support an entrepreneurial group of women launch a business to make washable and affordable sanitary pads. The Tizabalazele Make Sanitary Project assists schoolgirls in the country while providing a steady income for the women weavers who produce them.

After starting its own bursary fund project to support the dependents of the artisans they work with by paying their high school tuition each year, the team at BoMake Rural Project noticed that many girls attain poor marks or even drop out. The main reason: they had to stay at home one week per month, every month, when they had their periods as parents could not afford to buy sanitary pads. With the Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund grant supporting the Tizabalazele Make Sanitary Project, more girls can stay in school and have equal access to an education.

The $10,000 grant will allow a group of women weavers to receive training that advances their sewing skills as well as entrepreneurial capacity to launch and run a successful business making washable sanitary pads. Already they have secured a buyer.  Not only will the women have a steady flow of monthly income, they will also be able to make the pads for themselves and their children saving them enough money that can be channeled toward covering other expenses.

The women will also receive comprehensive training on menstrual health and hygiene so they can work as mentors and health ambassadors.

“Tizabazele means Do it for Yourself.  I had the privilege of meeting the Tizabalazele women weavers recently in eSwatini and was so humbled by their leadership and tenacity. These women are powerhouses in a very challenging environment,” said Crossroads’ Executive Director Heather Shapter. “I am completely confident that the Tizabalazele women will make use of the Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership funds in a manner that is transformative for their lives and for all of the families with adolescent girls who will benefit from access to education not possible prior to this funding,”

The 2019 grant was open to Crossroads’ partners in Ghana, Tanzania and eSwatini.

The Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund was created to celebrate Karen Takacs’ leadership during her 12 years as Crossroads International’s Executive Director and honour her legacy after her death in August 2015. The fund provides vital financial support to African organizations whose work advances women’s leadership and equality for women and girls and educational scholarships to emerging African women leaders.



Crossroads International is a leader in international cooperation and has been fighting inequality for 60 years. Crossroads works in some of the world’s poorest nations in sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa, and South America, with local partner organizations to create decent jobs and to empower women to become leaders and live free from violence.  Every year, we engage experienced volunteers and staff North and South who apply their expertise locally to address global issues. Together we are leveraging knowledge, expertise and dollars to create a more just and equitable world.

Crossroads is a registered charity supported by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), other government and non-government funders, and many individual donors around the world.

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For more information, please contact:
Delphine Avomo Evouna
Communications Officer
1 877-967-1611 ext. 244


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