Qrate brings Eduliftment to Tswelopele Secondary School!

Qrate brings Eduliftment to Tswelopele Secondary School!

Hello Qraters!

On the 29th of July in support of Discovery, Qrate was tasked with providing another Menstruation workshop to the girls of Tswelopele Secondary School. With the aim of ending period poverty the Discovery Health Period Positivity initiative headed up by the Functional Enablement & Central Services Team, Discovery donated period products to Tswelopele Secondary School. This donation will ensure that periods will not be an obstacle to school girls’ life.

The Senior Girls after the Qrate Menstruation Workshop

Our facilitators (Candice, Felicia, and Slu) had two sessions on the day. The first session occurred in the morning with 360 girls from Grade 8s and Grade 9s. The juniors engaged really well with the content and asked a lot of questions about different period products. The facilitators were amazed to learn just how excited and confident the juniors were about periods.

Morning Session with the Junior Girls

In the second afternoon session, which had 500 learners, the facilitators taught the girls about various period products and most importantly made the seniors take a period pledge. This session contained a LARGE group of girls who were excited to learn more about periods and the various period products that existed.

Facilitator Felicia explained the reproductive system to the girls

Out of the tasks, we asked five girls from both sessions to present period products, and the top presenter received a copy of Flow: The Book About Menstruation co-written by our Founder and Director, Candice Chirwa. The other girls received a menstrual cup from Mina Cups!

Qrate and Discovery Team

We are happy to have worked with Discovery and Mina Cups. Collaboration is key in providing a holistic solution to ending period poverty. If your corporate would like to host a CSI initiative focused on period education, please send an email to info@qrate.org.za!

Qrate brings Eduliftment to Roedean with another Menstruation Workshop!

Qrate brings Eduliftment to Roedean with another Menstruation Workshop!

Qrate facilitators Candice & Felicia speaking to Roedean Grade 11 girls in a menstruation training workshop

Hello Qraters!

On the 23rd of July, Qrate spent the day at Roedean High School in Parktown, Johannesburg South Africa to conduct a TWO fun-packed menstruation training workshop. As a part of their community service program, the twelve grade 11 students will spend the day at a community center to donate period productS (Pads from Blossom Care Solutions and Mina Cups) and provide menstrual education to 20 girls.

For the first hour, Qrate facilitators Candice & Felicia provided menstrual education that covered: The basics of menstruation followed by an interactive quiz on period poverty, different period products, and unpacking period myths and taboos. The students participated with keen eagerness to learn and participate in the content.

After a 10-minute break, the students came back to then learn how to be a facilitator. This session focused on explaining different icebreakers, going through different menstrual activities, and finally ending it off with our Period Pledge & Period Positive Walk in which the students received a certificate for their participation.

Workshop Reflections:

Teacher Charlotte Hulley thoroughly enjoyed the workshop session and in particular enjoyed how the content was delivered to the students. Further, Charlotte was extremely happy to see that her students were eager to learn and engaged throughout the two hours.

One student, Nuha labeled the workshop with the statement: “Yass!” which further supports the excitement she and the students have in providing menstrual education as part of their community service program.

We at Qrate wish the grade 11 students the best of luck in their program! Go and End the Period Stigma!

Qraters’ Voices: Let’s Create the Change we want to see

Qraters’ Voices: Let’s Create the Change we want to see

Hi my name is Faeeza Lok.

I am the founder of Voice of the People Movement. Voice of the People Movement was launched this year in April and our goal is to build stronger communities.

The Voice of the People Movement Team
The VOTP team out in Tembisa doing their FIRST community programme! Go team!

We recently launched our first community programme called the Community Enhancement Program (CEP). It was borne out of the belief in order for us to create a better world, we need to create a stronger community and we do that by enhancing the way we connect and relate with each other in the truest sense of Ubuntu.

Strong communities talk to each other and for the past 7 days, we went door to door in Tembisa. We listened and learned from community members on the challenges they face so that we can co-create solutions together. Through that experience I wanted to share THREE things I have learned from the program.

1) The pandemic has shown us we are all intrinsically linked with one another.

All of us share common aspirations- we all want to live in peace and security; to be educated, to work with dignity, to love our families and our communities. we should not be distracted by our differences, rather celebrate our commonalities. That should be the driving force behind our collective vision.

2) The future we want to create requires us to use our imaginations and be open to learn, unlearn and relearn.

The one thing which is constant is change, but when you are open to growth, you see every challenge in front of you as a way to grow and develop as a person, rather than a hinderance. Through this program, we saw positive behaviour change in our team leading and creating change around themselves and their environment independently. When you choose to grow as a person, we grow as a community.

The Voice of the Community Movement interacting with local community members

3) Change is always possible when people feel they are involved and listened to.

Feedback and knowledge sharing is part of our culture. We involve community members to co-create solutions and provide feedback on how we can improve as a movement. The goal of every organization is not to solve problems but to make the organization better, we make the organization better but creating a culture of inclusivity. We must be mindful that every voice is involved in the conversation, that every person feels comfortable to join in and offer his or her own perspective. Therefore creating a feeling of belonging and inclusion for everyone in the community.

4) Innovation is not the search for one big idea but the ability to implement small ideas which have a powerful cumulative impact.

As simple and small as starting a WhatsApp group. If you want to learn more about how grassroots organization work, if you want to become a community organiser, a change maker in your community, being part of a grassroots organiser is an opportunity to network, upscale and create change. Let’s help make South Africa better, let’s grow our community together.

Join us and let’s continue to commit ourselves to the future that we want to see.

About the Author

Faeeza Lok is a social entrepreneur, a bunny chow lover and the founder of Voice of the People Movement. Her ambition is to seek partnerships with more organisations to bring equality for all under represented persons.

Follow VOTP on social media:

Join their WhatsApp Group: +27 73 411 0046 | Instagram: @voice_za Facebook: @votp.za Twitter: @votp_za Tik Tok: @votp_za

Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Hello Qraters! 

On the 17th of July, Qrate hosted a workshop for 60 participants for the JGF Annual Summit. We spent an hour teaching the participants about Menstrual Health Education and they learnt a lot about themselves and their bodies. 

Qrate Menstrual Workshop at the JGF Annual Summit 2022

Workshop Activities:

The fun-filled and jam-packed workshop kickstarted with a video that took the participants on a visual journey of the experience of the first period in a world of full-fledged positivity and support for periods. The video was a thought-provoking launchpad that set up an interesting conversation to ease into the workshop.

The workshop included an eye-opening quiz that assisted the participants to debunk numerous menstrual myths and taboos. The quiz exposed the participants to glaring statistics that illustrated the sheer magnitude and impact of menstrual inequity that persists in society. This activity aided to contextualise the challenging circumstances that millions of menstruators face throughout the globe.

The activities that followed suit were all about empowering the participants to get comfortable with openly using menstrual jargon with pride and confidence. To take it a notch further, the participants also engaged in an interactive session about the different types of menstrual products and their varied applications. The Qrate team can proudly affirm that the world now has a fresh group of young adults who are knowledgeable about the different menstrual product options and their uses.

Workshop Outcomes:

The workshop highlighted to the participants that menstrual inequity is everyone’s problem therefore, it requires everyone to work toward breaking the period stigma. The JGF Annual Summit participants reflected this sentiment as they all actively engaged with the content of the workshop. In addition, the participants took on a period pledge to confirm their commitment to advocating for menstrual health.

A lot of work needs to be done to protect the human rights of menstruators. The bottom line is that change starts with rejecting period shaming and embracing period positivity. This change needs to be driven by awareness raising and menstrual education for everyone.

Let’s change mindsets and overturn regressive systems!

Workshop Reflections: 

Qrate workshop team and the JGF project manager

The project manager of JGF, Jade Glenn was incredibly impressed by the dynamic way the workshop was conducted and how the facilitators made the fellows have fun on a topic that is often seen as awkward.

One of the workshop participants enthusiastically shared that the workshop equipped them with the tools and knowledge to educate and empower young girls in their community on menstrual health – now this is what we call a domino effect!

We are honoured to have hosted this workshop in collaboration with JGF. We are looking forward to more stimulating workshops!

Qrate workshop certificates

If you’d like your organisation to experience the Qrate Menstruation Workshop, please send an email to info@qrate.org.za 

Masculinity 4 Kids

Masculinity 4 Kids

Son: “Daddy, what does it mean to be a man?”

Father: “Nothing son, absolutely nothing.” 

Food for ThoughtWhat do boys in South Africa think about being boys today? What do they imagine is expected of them? Whom do they look up to and how are they navigating the transition from being boys to becoming men?

What does it mean to be a man? That a man does not cry? That a man provides and protects?

Maybe these are not the right questions. 

But maybe this story will provide the right answers. 

Andisiwe and Tshepo, a newly married young couple, are planning on having a baby. Tshepo wants a daughter but his aunts are adamant that his firstborn should be a boy, “to carry on the family name” they say. His uncles also insist that his firstborn must be a boy too, “to show that he is a man in the bedroom” they say. 

On the other hand, Andisiwe wants a son for a firstborn and her mother agrees, “to please your husband and stop him from taking a second wife” she says. Her father would rather she has a girl, “girls always remember home and their mothers’ she will look after you, well into your old age” he says.

Ever wondered why those who imagine about having children prefer certain sex over the other? The story of Andisiwe and Tshepo can help us see what it means to be a man, an object and symbol of multiple complex expectations. Does being a man born in a patriarchal society mean the same as in a matriarchal one? 

Andisiwe and Tshepo finally have their baby boy who wailed at birth which made the nurses on duty celebrate. Baby Mandla kept his parents up at night crying in between feeding and nappy changing times, he also laughed a lot each time he was picked up. 

Being held, sung to, kissed on the forehead and talked to made baby Mandla giggle endlessly. The affection Andisiwe and Tshepo gave to baby Mandla made him smile each time he saw his parents. Baby Mandla grew into a strong and healthy boy child who always ran into his mom and daddy’s arms each time they show up home back from work. 

Mandla was raised into a respectful African child with lots of aspirations for when he grows up and finally leave the house for high school. His mother and the housekeeper told him that he had to toughen up for high school and stand up for himself. How does one toughen up for a cruel world? 

Mandla had to learn that one had to control his emotions, if necessary, deny them in order to put up a show of bravery as any sign of weakness is frowned upon. Such lies we put up with. The toxic part about this is that boys are raised to be men who struggle to acknowledge and express their feelings in the name of bravery. 

We fail to see that heroes and saints are people who experience fear, have weaknesses and are also ordinary. The idea of a man being one with everything under control, unlimited strength and all the other stereotypes of being macho are a big ask. If anything they set males up to fail, to fail at being who they truly are as individuals.

Furthermore, according to the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), estimates that 60% of children have absent fathers. The impact of the lack of absent fathers or positive father figures has an impact on the development of the boy child’s perception towards manhood. 

Luckily, Mandla is part of the 33 percent of children who are born and raised in a household by both parents. 

Now, how do we break this down for kids to begin to see toxic masculinity in the area of emotional intelligence? How about a drawing and coloring activity on how your favorite food tastes? Getting kids to begin to think about the qualities they like in something like food and giving them a language to express it, in this case, drawing and coloring. From food then taking it to appreciate people and creating gifts for family members and or friends. 

Toxic masculinity hampers emotional intelligence. It encourages a limited view of what a man is and even has an impact on intimate relationships. The sad part of this is that some females, those who help raise the boy child, take an active role in socializing them into toxic masculinity.

“Children are regarded as a gift, yet at times boy children are considered an investment whether for family name purposes or not.

So, what does it mean to be a man? 

Again, nothing but allowing your boy child to express his individuality for himself. Figuring out the rules of masculinity and trying to live up to them is part of every boy’s childhood. Most boys find the test of masculinity scary and hard to pass. 

Perhaps the test should be that boys should be allowed to be themselves and not constantly measure themselves against the societal standard of masculinity. This is an invitation to shift from living life and raising your boy child based on what people will say, “abantu bazothini?” towards what is best for your boy child.

Image by James Wong

It is important to talk to boys about the reality of gender expectations and help them figure out how to negotiate this problem. If a little boy is struggling to feel adequately masculine by acting tough, it’s not helpful to criticize or mock his interests. So instead of teaching the ills of toxic masculinity, we should instead instill a culture of positive masculinity – that is freeing the burden of societal expectations on the young boy child. 

Remember that each child is unique and requires a tailored approach making it impossible to expect your boy child to go through life with the burden of trying to be a certain man who only exists in societal expectations. 

Part of parenting is being great stewards of who our children are born to be, acknowledging their strengths, weaknesses and potential then guiding them towards who they are wired to be. Early Childhood Development and formal education, in part, help with this yet the validation, approval and shaping the boy children into what being a man start from home. 

So we have decided to create a few tips for challenging gender stereotypes in the home:

  • Ensure that children receive equal praise for the same behavior. For example, praising both boys and girls for being neat or being active in physical activities. 
  • Encourage children to be friends across genders.
  • Use the anatomically correct terms when referring to body parts. 
  • Point out, critique and discuss gendered representations in the media.
  • Avoid gender-specific language and statements such as “that’s a man’s job.’ and ‘that’s not lady-like.”
  • Encourage gender neutral toys and colors.

Back to the story of baby Mandla, it takes a village to raise a child. Until we, as a society, grapple and engage in open dialogue on notions of masculinity we will continue down the toxic avenue. Change begins with you and it is possible to raise children aware of positive masculinity tailored for each child to be themselves.

By Traver Mudzonga

About Traver Mudzonga: 

Traver is a photographer and brand culture design art director founded on creativity, passion and skill for highest possible results.Photography is more than a job for him, it is an expression of life. Having over nine years of technical and management experience as a Production Designer, he now focuses on brand strategy and inspiring brand culture.

Follow him on twitter: (m_traver), instagram (mtraverfolio) and visit his website: www.mtraver.com 

Consent 4 Kids

Consent 4 Kids

Teaching a kid about consent has nothing to do with teaching them about sex. It’s about respecting boundaries.

We believe parents can start educating children about consent and empowerment as early as 1 year old and continuing into the university years. It is our sincere hope that this post can help us raise empowered young adults who have empathy for others and a clear understanding of healthy consent.

Consent Matters
A group of happy children holding hands

In general terms, consent is a matter of an individual granting someone or something permission for a particular event to take place. It is the achievement of willful acknowledgment, sexual acceptance and eventually permission (expressly stated) by a female/male, to an advance made by a member of the same/opposite sex. 

General explanations such as these unlock doors that open up the opportunity for questions such as how does one relate this concept to children?  Or, how do parents, guardians, teachers etc. teach their children about consent?

As far as that is concerned, teaching consent becomes a rather simple process that requires practice and discipline in other areas of life. 

The act of teaching consent and the conversation around sexual consent starts at the early childhood development stages, by guardians teaching their children to understand their bodies & body language to respect the same & opposite sex but most importantly by teaching them to speak up for what they believe in. 

Some of the steps and many ways in which guardians can teach their children consent include:

1.  Boundaries remain vitally important from childhood. 

What about boundaries is so important you ask? Well, boundaries influence factors such as behavior and understanding. Boundaries are types of limits the facilitate the establishment of qualities such as empathy, support, respect, and discipline, as well as caring for oneself and others. 

If boundaries are crossed, a punishment can be allocated to establish a consequence for negative behavior. This in itself allows children to understand the remaining elements of this discussion concerning the teaching of consent in children.

2.  Respect remains as significant as teaching boundaries. 

Teaching children respect is interchangeably linked to the phenomena of consent in that respect allows for the development of positive relationships and relationship enhancing skills. Through respect, some factors that children are able to develop a more open-minded sense. 

Comic story about respect and boundaries

3. Communication & consequence it is important to communicate intent & permission for touching, kissing, or various sexual behaviors. 

If one does not have consent for a said act, the act could consequently lead to be considered a form of sexual assault. It is also extremely vital that there be a clear and open line of communication between child and guardian. Parents/Guardians must be willing to listen to their children and teach them that their emotions are warranted. 

4.  Reinforcing the use of the word NO and accepting the word

As you can see, there are countless aspects to consider when teaching children about the phenomena of consent. It’s important to remember that, as a parent and/ or guardian, it never too early to teach children about consent. 

By children having a greater awareness of what consent entails, children can then be more thoroughly prepared for developing and promoting healthy functional relationships which encompass facets such as boundaries, respect, listening, and communication.

Teach your kids that “no” and “stop” are important words and should be honored. One way to explain this may be, “Thandi said ‘no’, and when we hear ‘no’ we always stop what we’re doing immediately. No matter what.

Comic story about the use of the word NO

Also, teach your child that his or her “no’s” are to be honored. Explain that just like we always stop doing something when someone says “no”, that our friends need to always stop when we say “no”, too. If a friend doesn’t stop when we say “no,” then we need to think about whether or not we feel good, and safe, playing with them. If not, it’s okay to choose other friends.

If you feel you must intervene, do so. Be kind, and explain to the other child how important “no” is. Your child will internalize how important it is both for himself and others.

Consent is as simple as tea! 

We have provided visual links on teaching consent to children. Feel free to watch it together with your kids! 

Consent for Kids

This video helps kids of all ages understand consent in a fun and friendly manner! 

Consent is as simple as tea
This video  shows how consent as the act of making tea and serves a great way of making children understand what consent is by using a simple act they could relate to which may make the conversation around consent less frightening for both parent/guardian and child! 

About the Authors: 
Born in a small town called Zeerust, 24-year-old Mokgabo Maletswa is a graduate in Bachelor of Commerce in Finance who strives to achieve excellence in each and everything. Her complex combination of resilience, vibrancy, patience, diligence and her nature to help those who are less fortunate has led her to lead organizations like ABASA NWU-VTC. Being a caregiver and leader has come naturally. Her mantra in life is that she necessarily doesn’t what to change the world but spark the brain that will, through thought-provoking conversations and genuineness.

Natacha Martins is a 22-year-old female who is a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree and Honours Equivalent in the field of Psychology obtained at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education. Natacha is currently completing a TEFL certificate. Natacha has both experience and interests in the fields of university readiness, children’s education, research, statistics, school counseling, parental guidance counseling, addiction counseling, and alternative therapeutic methods through sport and physical activity.