Nothing great has ever been accomplished without passion – it calls us to action each day.
Thandi’s Story – From empathy to passion.
For many years my town had a rubbish dump which was home to many impoverished people. I used to take some groceries to an old lady there who was charged with looking after several small children. To witness this level of poverty was heartbreaking. My meager income, compared to their awful situation, made me appear wealthy.
At one of my visits, I befriended a group of Teenage girls who were sitting in the shade of a tree. One young girl was washing long strips of what used to be a blanket. Curious, I asked her what this was for. “It is our WASH-N-WEAR” she replied. When she saw that I had no idea what ‘wash-n-wear’ was, she volunteered; “For when we have our monthlies.”
“You mean you don’t have sanitary pads?” I asked in absolute disbelief.
“No.” she replied shyly. “We can’t afford to buy that, we use old towels and stuff, sometimes newspaper”
I was absolutely horrified and remember crying most of the way home, her look of embarrassment and the impact of her words still burning a hole in my heart. To restore some dignity to these girls, I stretched my salary some more to include sanitary-wear along with the groceries for the old lady and children.
Going through puberty without sanitary products every month impacted their self-esteem so negatively, it stripped them of all pride and dignity. I soon learnt that these teens were not equipped to deal with many things and the amount of misinformation they had was frightful. Lack of hygiene, lack of clean water, unhealthy living conditions and exposure to everything bad, put them at great disadvantage and risk.
They asked me so many questions and they were so vulnerable because of lack of knowledge about growing up. Survival was the only skill they could think of learning about and spent all their time trying to outsmart starvation. This exposed them to selling drugs and sex when they were not successful at shoplifting.
I started typing up some information on the topics they wanted to discuss and, sitting in the dust under that tree, talked with them about how to become street-wise. Misinformation and some old-wives tales they believed to be facts, made them targets for abuse and exploitation. None of these teens were attending school and one of the girls, a fourteen year old, was pregnant and did not really understand what had happened or who the father of the baby was. It turned out she was drugged and raped – there were some unsavory characters living at the dump also.
The journey this group of teenagers had taken me on was the most heart-breaking yet the most amazing experience anyone can imagine. What started out as empathy for an old lady and the small children, became my personal passion, if not my sole ambition, to help equip teenagers in similar situations. I have come to know over the years that thousands of young girls suffer this indignity on a monthly basis. Moreover, I discovered that streetwise material was desperately needed by an even wider audience than I could ever imagine.
The topics I so faithfully typed up was finally put into a book entitled “Blooming time – a book for young ladies.”
(Because the book could not cover everything, we established a Face Book and website to cover a multitude of topics).
It is difficult to see any advantage or opportunity in poverty – but it did occur to me that I was indeed able to turn this experience into an opportunity to help young girls become streetwise and help give them back their dignity. In the process I was fortunate to unravel the reasons of (global) stigmatization when it comes to menstruation and my book gave me the opportunity to share this dignified concept. I am optimistic that girls everywhere will take this concept further to afford us the dignity that this subject deserves.
It is my hope that this literature reaches every teenager in the world, to help equip them with streetwise knowledge to keep them safe, to live healthy and meaningful lives and to keep them out of the grip of addiction, abuse and poverty.
I ask that everyone makes the effort to point Teenagers to this website and FB page. Thank you for helping me in my mission to save a generation of youths who seems to have lost their identity. Poverty is like paying for a crime you did not commit!
Faithfully your friend
Teen Talk Africa – by Thandi
Our donations page – All book sales and donations go directly to Teen Talk Africa to make non-electronic books available for free.
A Non-profit exclusively to assist young ladies obtain sanitary wear and streetwise literature.
To protect them from abuse, drugs, disease and pregnancy, and to prepare them for a better future.
To remove stigma and shame for all girls and women and to reclaim our pride and dignity.
To train them in leadership and knowledge to educate those younger than themselves.
http://www.bloomingtime.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Money-matters-punishment.jpg480400Thandihttp://www.bloomingtime.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Untitled-300x63.pngThandi2016-11-10 10:32:272016-11-24 12:51:11THANDI'S STORY