Girls empowered through workshops

The GRL PWR team.

Two young women from Manenberg are running monthly workshops on a range of issues affecting girls and women in their community.

Keshia Davids, 19, and Salama Safter, 26, started the project in June, and they say they applied three weeks ago to register a non-profit organisation.

Menstruation is one of the issues the GRL PWR workshops have been covering.

About 30 girls attend the talks that Ms Davids and Ms Safter give once a month at Manenberg Primary School.

Ms Davids said many girls were ignorant about menstruation and some of them were missing school because of that and because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary towels.

The talks give girls advice on how to secure their sanitary towels so they don’t mess on their clothes and how to ease period pain.

“We are doing this in order to uplift and empower girls and women in the community,” Ms Davids said.

“We offer girls a relaxing yet informative session and they each receive a care pack filled with soap, pads, roll-on, lotion, toothpaste, and spray.

“Most of these items are donated to us.”

Ms Safter said menstruation could become unnecessarily stressful for girls who couldn’t afford sanitary towels. Many girls used pieces of cloth or newspaper instead.

“It really makes you realise how privileged you are. We are trying to create a network for them of people who will always support them and provide them with the necessary tools going forward. We hope to grow much more.”

Tharwah Davids, 16, from Manenberg, said the sessions were fun and inspiring.

“Most girls face teenage pregnancy, drugs, peer pressure to abuse alcohol, and many other things. It feels good knowing that you are not alone and you can overcome your circumstances. I like how we speak to each other and discuss things, even our career choices,” she said.

Manenberg ward councillor Aslam Cassiem commended the pair for their initiative.

“I am greatly encouraged by this initiative at uplifting, educating and inspiring young women. Positive mentorship of our community’s youth is essential during these times to protect them from social ills,” he said.

For more information, call Keshia Davids at 073 068 0993.