Burley-based music teacher launches crowdfunder to help Zimbabwean woman


Music teacher Joelle Braithwaite was so moved by the plight of African women who have difficulty accessing sanitary products that she vowed to help them make their own by fundraising to buy them sewing machines.

Joelle has visited Africa with friends from her church and was struck by the poverty there, with people unable to access everyday essential items, such as sanitary products.

One of her church friends from Zimbabwe told her about the problems in the rural village of Mucherengi.

“Currently women in Mucherengi and the surrounding area, do not have access to sanitary wear, which impedes their ability to leave the house, go to school, or go to work. If they do have access to disposable sanitary products they are very expensive and create a plastic waste issue in the village,” she said.

Joelle Braithwaite

She and her friends from church had the idea to help the villagers start a cottage industry that would allow women to learn sewing skills and produce reusable sanitary pads. This was welcomed by the folk in Mucherengi who worked with Joelle to identify what was needed.

The result is a crowdfunder to help the women buy sewing machines including overlockers to make the reusable pads more durable. The fund will also buy fabric and other items needed to make the reusable pads.

Joelle’s appeal is initially to raise £1,500 to get the project up and running. This includes:£135 for A manual sewing machine, £513 for an overlocker, £81 for sewing table and £110 for materials to make approximately 250 -300 washable sanitary pads.

You can support Joelle through her Just Giving page, she has already raised more then £600.


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