New comic book for girls to be launched next month

Columbus Mabika

Youth Interactive Reporter

A local organisation dubbed Vasikana Project, promoting the empowerment of girls through menstrual health education, last week partnered Menstrupedia of India, Stayfree Africa, and The Sister Accord Foundation, to produce a Menstrupedia Comic in Shona.

The Menstrupedia is a friendly guide to periods which helps girls and women to stay healthy and active during their periods,

The comic book will be virtually launched on May 29 – the World Menstrual Health Day.

Vasikana Project worked with Menstrupedia of India, the original publishers, to translate the comic into Shona.

The Sister Accord Foundation donated $2 500 to print the comic to be made available for schools in Zimbabwe.

In an interview, Vasikana Project director Zvisinei Dzapasi said this was a shot in the arm mostly for rural girls whom she says often do not have access to resources that empower and educate them about their own changing bodies.

“For years, we distributed pads in schools,” she said.

“However, we realised that ending period poverty is multifaceted, and we wanted to do more than leave a packet of pads.

“We wanted to put an educational resource that eradicates barriers to menstrual health and a resource available to the girls for years to come.”

Dzapasi said they were making headway with the publication of the Menstrupedia Comic, a friendly guide to healthy periods on the other end of the globe.

She said the comic, used in over 10 000 schools, has won awards for its concept of using graphic comics to educate about periods, a topic with many cultural taboos.

“Instead of inventing the wheel and spending money to create a resource from scratch, translating the Menstrupedia comic into Shona was affordable and fast,” said Dzapasi.

“We agreed right away to make it happen.

“The comic book will be the first publication on menstrual health to be published in Shona in Zimbabwe and is set to eradicate barriers to menstrual health.”

Plans are underway to distribute books to five schools under Vasikana Project and to make the book available to other organisations who want to purchase it for communities they serve and individuals.

“The Sister Accord Foundation is on a mission to have one billion girls, and women learn how to love themselves and each other,” said Sonia Jackson Myles, founder of the Sister Accord Foundation, which has sponsored printing the initial 1 000 copies.

“In order for girls and women to love themselves, they must fully know and understand their bodies. The distribution of this amazing comic book is aligned with one of the global pillars: educating girls and women.

“Important educational information will be accessible to girls who don’t have a smartphone and are not on the internet. We are literally making history in Zimbabwe with this action that will leave a legacy for years to come.”

In 2019, Vasikana Project published “I Call on You Sis” an Empowerment Journal whose sales have funded the hiring of a full-time health educator focused on implementing and
expanding the programme into more schools.

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