Thank you for visiting my page! With your support, we can change the lives of many girls in Zimbabwe through education.
Why education? I believe that it is a long lasting solution to poverty; here is my experience:
I was born and raised by a single mother in Zimbabwe. She didn't have much, but instilled in me the value of education. At the age of 16, I was blessed to receive a scholarship to the Red Cross Nordic United World College, supported by Rotary and UWC. The opportunity not only changed my life but was followed by another scholarship to the University of Reading in 1998. I wouldn't be who I am today without the kindness of others.
Today, and every day, I feel humbled and blessed to give back the gift of education to orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe through the charity, Creating Better Futures. I do this entirely voluntarily and am passionate about empowering girls in particular through education.
The charity, Creating Better Futures was started in our two bed flat and inspired by the support of Reading Family Church. As a charity, we have been supporting boys and girls to go to school for the past 7 years. At primary school girls far out-performed the boys. As they neared the end of primary school and throughout secondary school, we noticed that girls are more likely to miss school than boys.
When I was last in Zimbabwe a few months ago, I learnt that the reason for girls missing school and being susceptible to early childhood marriages was a very natural, biological cycle which affects all of us, whether male or female, the cycle enabled us all to be conceived and born.
During their "time of the month" girls miss school because they cannot afford feminine hygiene products. It is seen as taboo to talk about this and girls resort to missing school because they use old bits of old cloth, used cotton wool, bits of old mattress foam, compacted grass, layered leaves...anything they can get hold of.
The most heart-breaking lesson I learnt was how some girls would dig a hole in the ground and attempt to cramp their "stomach" muscles to force their menstrual flow out in one go, which as we know is not biologically possible. All the while, they have no underpants to use, no matter what make-piece items they find and so going to school is seen a very nervous experience of having "an accident".
Hearing their plight brought back a memory of my most embarrassing day while at primary school in Zimbabwe. I had "an accident" at school while writing my Grade 7 exams at the age of 12 and had absolutely nothing to use to manage my first menstrual flow that happened to be at school and a nervous exam time. I remember how difficult it was to maintain my dignity and how such a natural process affected my confidence and academic performance.
That was many years ago and I thank God that I am now able to do something about it. But, I cannot do this alone. Sadly, many girls' education is still being affected by the taboo, the lack of education associated with menstrual poverty and subsequently hampering their education. In this day and age, it shouldn't be happening, so I am running the longest distance that I have ever run for the girls to go to school! Will you join me?
My target is to provide reusable sanitary pads, underwear and hygiene packs for 50 girls so that they don't miss out on school.
I had signed up to take on the challenge of completing the Reading Half Marathon because it is known as the UK's fastest and most exciting Half Marathon (and a stone's throw from our charity office). In addition, Creating Better Futures had the honour of being selected to be one of the chosen local charities for the first time ever which is amazing (no pressure then!).
As we are all aware, the Reading Half Marathon was cancelled and I decided to double the half marathon distance by doing the Thames Path Challenge on the 9th of September 2018 (25km! What was I thinking?). I wanted to set myself something that felt like a real challenge, as I haven't run or walked such a distance since having our second daughter. It will take me a while (all day!) to complete but I am determined. Please support me to make a difference!
Your donation, no matter how big or small will make a difference.
£30 will provide a complete hygiene pack with reusable pads, dignity bags, soap, pants, deodorant, a reproductive health information pack and ongoing support from the charity to help girls stay in school for 1 year.
£100 will provide a hand operated sewing machine.
£200 will provide a sewing machine and materials for 3 girls to learn how to make their own sanitary products.
If taking part in a challenge is not your thing but you would like to support CBF, please get in touch. There are many ways that you can help. For example, you could get together with friends; hold a cake sale, swish, quiz, do a sponsored event, hold a golf day or any other activity that suits your preferences. Every donation makes a massive difference.
"When you educate a girl, you begin to change the face of a nation." Oprah Winfrey.