The average South African schoolgirl misses 384 days of school over her educational career because she cannot afford sanitary pads during her menstrual cycle.
The Happy Days Foundation, which Durbanite Ramona Kasavan heads, provides a cost-effective and high-quality sanitary pad range to meet the needs of girls in rural areas.
With a vision of empowering young women in rural communities, Kasavan came up with the concept to help girls in rural areas attend classes instead of staying at home.
She flew to China in February last year to meet suppliers and launched the range in October 2013. “Happy Days has not looked back since,” she says.
The organisation estimates more than five million girls in South Africa are aged between 10 and 19 years, with an additional 500 000 being pubescent. Research indicates that half these women lack sanitary pads.
Through sponsorships and collaborations, the organisation aims to bridge this gap. Kasavan is piloting alternative revenue streams and creating a direct selling model for village agents.
Currently the pads are distributed at 1 300 sites of poverty, in partnership with the Department of Social Development and the City of Tshwane.
Happy Days uses the platform to encourage girls to embrace womanhood, have self-esteem and get an education.
“The feedback we have been getting from the market has been phenomenal. There are still a lot of taboos and perceptions around the menstrual cycle, but Happy Days is focused on changing that,” she says.