Unsilencing The Period Talk In Sports

Unsilencing The Period Talk In Sports

Hello Qraters!

Have you ever missed physical education lessons at school or any other sporting commitments because you were on your period?

The fact is that menstruators across the world are missing out on sports because of their periods due to the inaccessibility of period products, while others have felt self-conscious and embarrassed to participate during their period due to societal stigmas.

By working to break down harmful period stigma, we can ensure no one has to miss or avoid participating in sports while on their period because having your period should not get in the way of you participating in sports,

In June, Qrate and Football Without Borders SA collaborated to take a step toward flipping the narrative on menstruation for young South African athletes. The workshop left the young athletes empowered, knowing that they can, too, thrive in the sporting world as menstruators.

Period Poverty in South African Schools

Millions of menstruators in South Africa are not able to afford or cannot access period products. This is known as period poverty.

Respective research conducted in South African Schools by the Menstrual Hygiene Management and The Borgen Project found that:

  • 83% of menstruating learners do not have regular access to menstrual hygiene products both at school and at home;
  • 1 in 4 learners (who menstruate) miss school monthly because they lack access to menstrual hygiene products and support during their menstrual periods;
  • An estimated 30% of South African menstruators do not attend school while they are on their period because they do not have sanitary products.

How Does Period Poverty Affect Sports Participation?

The statistics above in South African schools reflect the realities that menstruators face across society. Menstruators play on an uneven playing field due to existing period stigmas, period product inequality, and inaccessibility. This translates to missed training, missed competitions, and increased dropouts of menstruators in sports. In summary, these are MISSED OPPORTUNITIES and LOST POTENTIAL for millions of girls, and women.

What Can We Learn From Football Without Borders SA?

Our workshop with Football Without Borders SA was a special one because it was telling that there are sports clubs and organisations that are making efforts to provide and integrate menstrual health education for their athletes to ensure that menstruators have a safe and comfortable environment. Not only is menstrual education important for the athletes but also for the coaches and staff members to understand how to support menstruators.

The more we can start normalising menstrual conversations and education in sports, the easier it will be to spread support. If we start talking more openly about periods – a menstruator who might be struggling with their period would be more open to seek support from their parents, coaches, or staff members to get help and advice.

Sparking conversations about menstruation health enables us to celebrate what women on their periods have achieved, and helps to break taboos while opening the door for an important mindset shift in sports regarding periods. The more conversations we can have about periods in sports, the easier it can become to set setting higher standards for girls and women in sports to be protected and supported.

Did You Know That Qrate Is On A Nationwide Period Positive Tour? 🩸

Qrate is on a period tour all across South Africa. If any schools or youth organisations would like to get involved or be a part of the period positive tour, please email info@qrate.co.za

An Ode to EmPOWERment: An Open Letter To My Period

An Ode to EmPOWERment: An Open Letter To My Period

To Nadine (and any girl child reading this),

You are extraordinary. Periods and all.

Your period is symbolic of your power, your womanhood, and your sisterhood. But sometimes, you forget the magic behind it. Sometimes we see our periods as something we want to hide, ashamed of, and something we are self-conscious about. Some people scrutinise your period and minimise your experience as if it’s up for debate, but I am here to tell and empower you to embrace it.

It’s time you embrace it wholly, dear period; you are something to be celebrated and marveled at. You are no longer silenced in rooms because I am slowly beginning to speak about you loudly and openly. The more I speak about you, the more I realise I am not alone. I now have a community of humans who acknowledge and support my experiences with you. I am constantly learning how we can co-exist every month, and to be honest, it is still freaking hard because sometimes you come in with all the punches (cramps, nausea, moods etc.), but at least I am trying. I am unlearning all the misconceptions and breaking the stigma within myself and the world so that a period-positive world will be a reality for my younger sister and all the younger girls behind me.

A Reminder for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023:

Girl child, it’s time you stand with pride and walk in conviction about your period,
Do it for yourself, your sisters, your brothers, and the millions of girls around the world,
It starts with loving yourself and your body a little bit more,
It starts with being kinder to yourself when it is hard and painful,
A little bit of love and kindness to yourself goes a long way,
Because it is the foundation for creating period positive change in the world.

Again. You are extraordinary. Periods and all.

Remember that.

Love,

Nadine

🎶 This letter was written while listening to Woman by Nao feat. Lianne La Havas

I am a women
Gender Justice

So What Can You Do To Change The System?✊🏾✊🏼✊💥

Learn: 📚

Get informed about your menstrual health and the challenges faced by girls by signing up for these courses:

Read:📚

Listen: 🎧

Did You Know That Qrate Is On A Nationwide Period Positive Tour? 🩸

Menstrual Education in South Africa
Menstrual Empowerment in South Africa

Qrate is on a period tour all across South Africa. If any schools or youth organisations would like to get involved or be a part of the period positive tour, please email info@qrate.co.za

Qrate Team Rocks a New Period Inspired Merch Thanks to Levi Strauss & Co

Qrate Team Rocks a New Period Inspired Merch Thanks to Levi Strauss & Co

Hello Qraters!

We are excited to share our team’s new menstrual drip that has been proudly sponsored by Levi Strauss & Co. Our new fit includes a new period positive shirt accompanied with a classic Levi blue jean for each team member.

To celebrate the official launch of our new team look, our team had a energy and laughter-filled photoshoot to showcase Qrate’s newest team merch. Read more to check out our team photoshoot and the meaning behind our period positive team shirt.

Qrate team South Africa
Qrate Team Merch Shirt

The eye-catching yet meaningful print design on our shirt is the Qrate trademark and here is why. Period positivity is a central focus of our work and therefore our shirt reflects of our mission to empower young girls on periods. We want our shirt design to spark conversations around menstrual topics typically considered taboo such as period stigma and period poverty.

Power to the period” means shifting back the power to women over our bodies, periods, and rights. We can no longer fail to engage and remain silent on those who menstruate. Throughout history, periods have been hidden from the public as they have been seen as a taboo and/or embarrassing but we are flipping the coin in shifting this narrative to one that is empowering and positive.

Menstrual education in South Africa
Menstrual Education Qrate Team

We are proud to be rocking these new shirts because they colourfully, boldly and loudly represent what we work towards. A big thank you to Levi Strauss & Co for supporting and supplying the Qrate team with our newest team merch.

Did you know that Qrate is on a nation-wide period positive tour? 

Qrate is on a period tour all across South Africa. If any schools or youth organisations would like to get involved or be a part in the period positive tour, please email info@qrate.co.za

Join the movement to break period stigma and let’s start having real conversations about menstrual health. Qrate is committed to providing Menstrual Education in ending period poverty in South Africa. Check out our recent #Periodpositivetour video highlight below.

Qrate Teams up with GGA and Africa Tikkun in the #BreaktheSilence Workshop

Qrate Teams up with GGA and Africa Tikkun in the #BreaktheSilence Workshop

Hello Qraters!

On the 31st March 2023, Qrate collaborated with Good Governance Africa and Africa Tikkun to facilitate the #BreakTheSilenceWorkshop. Our facilitator Candice Chirwa hosted a 3-hour impactful workshop that shed light on the significance of dismantling taboos surrounding menstruation. The workshop engaged 25 incredible young women from the Young Women Movement initiative by Afrikka Tikkun, who learned about being agents of change in breaking the stigma around menstruation in their personal lives and their communities.

Qrate facilitated an interactive workshop that engaged the participants in empowering activities to learn more about their bodies and periods, while leading critical discussions on the impact of period stigma in society. The workshop held a safe space for our participants to express themselves freely through dance, singing, sharing their experiences, and asking questions about all things periods.

Our workshop started with an ice-breaker to get everyone comfortable with the space and each other. The participants played an introductory game called “My Name is,” where they introduced themselves through joint singing and dance. Next, Candice led the participants through a vagina mediation, where the participants could relax and stretch while learning about all the different parts of the female reproductive system. Then, our participants were introduced to periods through a short animated video on periods and our famous vagina song activity. After the fun introduction session, our participants were ready and energised to engage with the many activities prepared for them in the workshop.

The 3-hour workshop was packed with exciting activities built around experiential learning through practical activities, internal reflections, and group discussions.  Read on further to see what went down during the #BreaktheSilence workshop.

The practical elements of the workshop included the participants partaking in the period product alien game, where they learned about the available menstrual products and their applications. The period product alien game was not just about learning about the applications of the various menstrual products but also a research activity where the participants got to dig deep to understand what type of materials are used to manufacture the different menstrual products. This menstrual product research got the participants thinking about the impact of certain period products on our environment and planet. Furthermore, this activity allowed the participants to ask Candice where to access certain products as they are not readily available in all pharmacies and grocery stores.

Our workshop also used visual learning as a way in which participants could learn more about periods. During our workshop, we showed an animated short video introducing periods and a short movie called “First Period”. The “First Period” was a powerful visual experience because it showed the participants a period-positive world that contrasts the lived realities of the period stigma millions of menstruators continue to face today. This video highlighted to the participants that creating a period-positive world is possible if we break the period stigma within ourselves, communities, and governance structures.

At Qrate, we aim to transfer period experiences and knowledge through our true and false quizzes, period myths game, and our what would you do game. 

  • True and False Game: Our participants took part in a quick-fire True or False quiz that questioned participants about the quick facts about periods and period statistics. The true or false quiz highlighted the sheer magnitude of the menstrual inequality world concerning mainstreaming access to period products, menstrual health, and menstrual education. 
  • What would you do?: Our participants reflected on the question, “What would you do?” in relation to various multiple scenarios. This activity was powerful because it got the participants thinking emphatically about the different experiences that menstruators face. 
  • The Period Myth Game: This game was centred on the participants sharing all the period myths they have come across on a whiteboard. Then through a guided discussion with Candice, the participants collaboratively debunked each myth on the whiteboard before them. 
Teaching about menstruation
Candice Chirwa facilitating a menstrual workshop

The workshop closed with the participants taking their period pledge, vowing to talk openly about periods so they are part of the change in breaking the chain of stigma towards periods. 

The responsibility of making a positive impact is one that must be shared; therefore, let us collaborate in order to make a difference in the lives of children and young people” – Africa Tikkun

Thank you to Good Governance Africa and Africa Tikkun for sharing the space with us to empower young girls on periods. To the participants, Qrate thank you for entering the space with enthusiasm, open hearts, and energy. Thank you for leading critical discussions in the workshop, as we pledged, remember to be the vehicles of change for yourselves, your families, and your communities. 

South African girls at a menstrual workshop

This year Qrate is going on a period tour all across South Africa. If any schools or youth organisations would like to get involved or be a part in the period positive tour, please email info@qrate.co.za

The Girls of Noordwyk Secondary School Tackle Period Stigma!

The Girls of Noordwyk Secondary School Tackle Period Stigma!

Hello Qraters!

With the new year already in full motion, we are honoured to have hosted our first workshop of 2023 with Noordwyk Secondary School. Our founder and director, Candice Chirwa, facilitated an exciting and educational menstrual talk and workshop with 200 Grade 8 and 9 students.

South African students attending a menstrual health and education workshop.

The early morning workshop was kickstarted with icebreakers to get the girls comfortable with freely speaking about periods. These ice-breakers opened a dialogue that allowed the students to express their opinions and views on periods. Next, the students participated in a vagina mediation session that literally knocked two birds with one stone because it first had the students stretched and warmed up for the day, and secondly, the vagina mediation taught the students the different parts of the female reproductive system.

South African students listening to a menstrual health and education workshop.
Candice Chirwa faciliating a menstrual education workshop in South Africa.

Following that, the students took part in a True or False educational quiz that questioned the young girls about the basics of periods, period products, and debunking period taboos. The true or false quiz highlighted the sheer magnitude of the menstrual inequality world in regard to mainstreaming access to period products, menstrual health, and menstrual education. Then, the students participated in a period product alien game where they practically partook in peer-to-peer learning about different period products and their applications. 

The workshop closed with the students taking their period pledge, vowing to talk openly about periods so they are part of the change in breaking the chain of stigma towards periods. At Qrate, we are all about spreading period positivity with all the students and people we engage with.

We received great feedback from teacher Martha, the Head of Department of Life Orientation at Noordwyk Secondary School, stating that she was very happy with the workshop as it offered an interactive and enjoyable platform for her students to learn about mensuration. Watch the video below to hear teacher Martha’s full reflection on the workshop.

We would also like to give a special thank you and a big shout-out to SkinBodyRenewal and Konami Girl for their generous donation of 200 packs of reusable Konami pads to the Grade 8 students. Your partnership and relentless commitment to addressing period product access is part of the driving force that continues to push and inspire the period community to continue to strive for greater reach in addressing menstrual inequality and mainstreaming menstrual education.

Qrate workshop partners
Candice Chirwa and Qrate's partners from Skin Body Renewal

To the Noordwyk Secondary School 8th and 9th Graders, teachers, and teacher Martha (HOD of Life Orientation/ SBSG Co-ordinator), you were phenomenal! Thank you for engaging and adding value to the workshop. As we pledged, remember to talk about periods because our periods are power. And that’s on, period!

Two Noordwyk Secondary Students proudly holding their workshop certificates.

This year Qrate is going on a period tour all across South Africa. If you would like your organization to experience the Qrate Menstruation Workshop, please email info@qrate.org.za

Voices of Empowerment: Women to Watch in 2022

Voices of Empowerment: Women to Watch in 2022

Role models matter, especially for women. Patriarchy and gendered stereotypes still have a significant impact in undermining the potential, capacity, and ambitions of millions of women across the globe. In a world where women are constantly confronted with predefined archetypes, numerous female powerhouses continue to shatter the glass ceilings of what is achievable for women.

To celebrate the closing of women’s month, Qrate is giving a nod to seven exceptional women in South Africa who are creating spaces for women to rise to greater heights.

Nosipho Dumisa

Have you come across the Netflix hit show Blood and Water? Well, Nosipho is one of the leading geniuses that worked their magic in executing this South African series gold. Blood and Water is just the tip of the iceberg of Nosipho’s filmography credits as a director, writer, and executive producer. Nosipho is a trailblazing filmmaker who is achieving new feats of what it means to be a young black female director in the film and television industry. Being in an industry that often sidelines women of colour from taking the lead, Nosipho is the change that is bringing a fresh take in film-making in South Africa and beyond. Representation is extremely important to Nosipho because she never saw women of colour occupying the spaces she is in today. Today, Nosipho continues to pave the way for increased representation in front and behind the screens.

Farai Mubaiwa

Driven by the ethos, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”, Farai has chosen the path to take matters into her own hands to be the change. Farai is a young feminist, pan-Africanist, and changemaker who is invested in creating brighter futures on the African continent through empowering the youth. As the Co-founder of Africa Matters Initiative and the Chief Partnerships Officer at YES (Youth Employment Services), Farai is committed to capacitating the youth to achieve their fullest potential through capacity-building means that aim to equip youth across Africa with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support to thrive.

Farai is creating waves with her strong leadership that continues to inspire, empower, and lead countless people from all walks of life. Farai is a testament that being a leader is not defined by age or position but rather by being an individual who is unafraid of growth and is committed to generating collective impact.

Thandile Chinyavanhu

Thandile is an intersectional climate and social activist who is passionate about securing inclusive transitions towards sustainable development. As the Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, Thandile has continued to use her platform to be an outspoken advocate for the voiceless community groups that are often underrepresented in international and national climate change responses. Her work is focused on ‘leaving no one behind’ in creating socially equitable communities in South Africa.

Thandile’s work takes a feminist and intersectional approach that clearly indicates that addressing climate change needs a nuanced responses that address the varying contexts of different demographics across South Africa. To Thandile, everything is interconnected therefore, we need to collectively make intersectional solutions that will effectively shift the needle of socio-environmental development towards a morally just path for humanity and the planet.

Learn more about Thandile Chinyavanhu.

Karabo Poppy

Colourful, vibrant, and rooted are the words that describe Karabo Poppy’s captivating art. Karabo Poppy’s artistic creations have taken form in countless ways, from the walls of buildings to the design of your KFC bucket or shoes. The young artist has worked with the likes of global giants such as Nike, Google, and Apple – to name a few. Karabo’s journey to being a full-fledged artist has been a story of self-discovery, determination, and following one’s heart despite being confronted with uncertainties as a young black female artist. Karabo’s art has a visible and cultural imprint on contemporary African art and Afrofuturism. The Forbes 30 under 30 alumni, takes full pride in her African roots while continuing to use her art to support developmental programs across Africa. Karabo Poppy is an inspirational force for the next generation of young African artists. Karabo remains true to the movement of bringing African female excellence to a global stage.

Learn more about Karabo Poppy’s work.

Thembi Kgatlana

Thembi is already making her mark as one of the greatest athletes in South Africa. Kgatlana is a professional football player who currently plays forward for Racing Louisville FC and South Africa’s women’s national team. The football star has represented South Africa at the highest levels in football such as participating in the Olympics, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations. Additionally, Thembi has received numerous accolades to her name including being the Best Player, Top Scorer, and Women’s Footballer of the Year in the CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations in 2018. A recent addition to Thembi’s astounding professional resume is being part of the winning Banyana Banyana team that won the 2022 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.

Discipline, sheer determination, and teamwork have shaped Thembi to achieve sporting greatness. According to Thembi, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ in creating sporting excellence on the pitch. Thembi is both an inspiration and a symbol to many young girls that they can too choose and excel in professional athleticism.

Zandile Mkhwanazi

Currently, women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) however, women like Zandile are working towards overturning this narrative. As the chairperson and founder of GirlCode and EmpowerXx, Zandile is devoted to raising awareness, educating, and up-skilling girls in STEM. Through GirCode and EmpowerXx, Zandile and her team have been able to host the biggest all-female annual hackathons in South Africa; host monthly educational workshops on robotics that have impacted over 3000 learners, while providing internships and employment opportunities to university students at both of her organisations. The ripple effect of Zandile’s leadership and social entrepreneurship endeavours has been powerful, as it has opened the doors in accelerating numerous tracks for women to enter and flourish in STEM-focused professions and businesses.

Zandile is a firm believer in expanding opportunities that will uplift both the social and economic status of women. Her mission is to create a generation where women have a seat at the table in the creation and development of technologies in South Africa.

Candice Chirwa

Last but not least is Qrate’s very own Candice Chirwa! Known as the Minister of Menstruation, Candice is a fervent gender activist, author, and thought leader on addressing issues that will empower the youth. Driven by the purpose to ‘Edulift’ the youth, Candice founded her award-winning NGO, Qrate to facilitate menstrual education workshops with the mission to dismantle menstrual misconceptions within society. Whether it is being a TEDx speaker, YouTuber, writer, or educator, Candice is known to exhaust all of her resources to ensure that the fundamental human rights of girls and women are addressed and met.

Candice’s voice has been influential in stimulating a mental shift in how we understand and view menstruation. This young activist is on a mission to better the future experiences of women, and there are no signs of Candice stopping.

These women on this list are truly exceptional individuals who represent the dynamism, excellence, and flair of women all across the board. As some say, seeing is believing, and these women are living proof that you are also capable. As women’s month is drawn to a close, remember that the movement towards gender equality still continues.

Girl child, you are limitless, worthy, powerful, and you belong anywhere you set your mind to.