Project Penya: Investing in the Future Females of Hwange National Park

Education is the currency of survival, however not an economy everyone has access to. This harsh truth pertains mostly to women and is exemplified for the local female residents in rural areas. Jonathan Dube, a Jenman African Safaris Guide, spoke to CEO Katja Quasdorf about the importance of community project funding linked to tourism. You can watch the recording of their conversation by clicking the button below.


An example given in their discussion was Project Penya – an initiative which supports young women by providing sanitary wear as well as the skills to make their own – consequently providing a greater chance of education and employment.

Penya translated from Shona means “to shine” and this project’s core objective is to empower entire generations of teenage girls to have a brighter future. In Africa, monthly menstruation remains to impart social, cultural and financial restrictions on young girls, the result being ignorance of personal hygiene, shame and an inability to attend school. In rural areas, girls do not have access to sanitary products, and simply cannot afford them every month. This heightens the risk of infection by improvising sanitary wear using mattress foam, leaves, blankets, rags, newspaper and even feathers – this is not only humiliating but completely ineffective.

Project Penya Hwange

As a responsible tourism operation, Jenman Africa Safaris supports the Grow Africa Foundation by channelling funds from client’s bed-nights into providing sanitary pads made by a local women’s sewing group – Thandanani. A multi-beneficial approach by collaborating with the women of the village, who in turn assist the girls of the village. The circle of life within the community empowers the cycle of life for future generations of women.

Each year a workshop is held for the year 6 students at Dingani School teaching the girls about personal hygiene, menstruation, as well as how to make their own reusable sanitary pads. These conversations are vital not only for health reasons, but are an opportunity to remind the girls of their abilities and responsibilities towards investing in their future. It is here we encourage and inspire female students to harness their ‘girl power’ and value themselves as respected members of the community.

Without tourism, funds for Project Penya have diminished, affecting the lives of many rural women. By making a remote donation, futures may be transformed, allowing these girls “to shine”. Contact us to be a part of this change, educating the girls of tomorrow.


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