Supporting the empowerment of women while fighting period poverty
The financial inability to afford sanitary products, coupled with a lack of knowledge about menstruation, is called period poverty. The problem affects millions of young girls and women in South Africa every day
The financial inability to afford sanitary products, coupled with a lack of knowledge about menstruation, is called period poverty. The problem affects millions of young girls and women in South Africa every day – and yet there are ways to combat this social issue, while also assisting with job creation at the same time.
In Sandton, Johannesburg, the Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, and Webhelp, an award-winning leader in customer experience and business solutions, have joined forces with Blossom Care Solutions to fight this national problem in a practical, holistic way.
The partnership will support the set-up of a Blossom factory in Sandton, employing six previously unemployed young women and producing enough pads to eliminate period poverty for thousands of school girls each year. The approach enables the empowerment of girls and women from both an individual as well as an economic perspective.
Shamiela Sarlie, Managing Director at Blossom Care Solutions, a social enterprise that exists to combat the issues brought about by period poverty in South Africa, while also investing in sustainable job creation, explains, “The overall impact of period poverty is to present even more obstacles to the learning and development of those young girls and women who are affected by it, when compared to their male counterparts.
“This, together with the social stigma that is still associated with menstruation in township and rural markets, causes additional social and economic disadvantages to those affected. This is why Blossom Care Solutions was established in 2019 as a mission-centric social enterprise: for women, by women.”
Claire Carroll, Head of Sales and Service at the Co-op, says: “We’re so pleased to offer support to Blossom Care Solutions, who are making strides in eliminating period poverty. At the Co-op, we believe in co-operating for a Fairer World. We’re proud to play a small part in helping to eliminate period poverty for thousands of women, while creating job opportunities at the Blossom factory.”
Cathy Kalamaras, Webhelp’s People Director of South Africa, adds: “Unemployment remains a pivotal issue in South Africa and as we continue to support initiatives which bring about meaningful change and build sustainable futures, it was a natural choice to become involved with Blossom.
“When we see the numbers of young girls and women in our more disadvantaged communities, who do not use sanitary pads or are occasional users, and look at new ways to alleviate the unemployment situation, the work of Blossom Care Solutions becomes even more vital. Acting responsibly and strengthening our communities to make a positive difference is key not just to Webhelp, but the partners we work with, which is why we’re proud to be supporting this initiative alongside the Co-op.”
About Blossom Care Solutions
Blossom Care Solutions is a mission-centric, social enterprise that exists to combat the issues brought about by period poverty in South Africa while also investing in sustainable job creation. Our aims include increasing access to sanitary pads amongst girls and women in township and rural markets; educating communities to create positive awareness and take away the stigma around menstruation; creating jobs for young women; and establishing small black-owned, women-led businesses under a social franchise model.
The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited
Employing over 62,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £11.5 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.
We live in an era of fast connectivity and AI. Today, human experiences have even more power to make businesses come to life in customers’ hearts and minds. Webhelp is committed to making business more human. It’s through this commitment that Webhelp enriches customer experience, and designs business solutions that create value for the world’s most exciting companies. Webhelp is a partner across a range of services including customer experience solutions, digital content services through to payment services. Hundreds of brands across the world trust Webhelp because of their people, the culture they work in, and the ideas and technology they put to work. Webhelp believes that Emotional Intelligence creates a lasting impact, and their skill in marrying a differentiating human touch to the right technology is what makes a real difference for their clients. By choosing Webhelp they access the passion and experience of over 95,000 game-changers from more than 150 locations in 50 countries. Each one determined to bring their own intelligence, empathy and experience to the table every day.
Webhelp invests in people and the environment they work in, because they know that when people thrive, it has a powerful impact on them, their customers and on their partners’ business.
Webhelp believes that making business more human leads to a better customer experience - and a healthier bottom line. Webhelp is the European leader in their industry, with a revenue of €1,6B in 2020, and aims for a global leadership position. Webhelp is currently owned by its management and GBL, a leading global investment holding, as of November 2019.