Sive is 15 years old and lives in Cape Town. Every month, she must make the tough decision whether to buy food or sanitary products — and often gets teased if she bleeds on her clothes. 

“When we do not have money to buy sanitary pads, I take my old clothes, tear them up, and use them instead,” Sive says. “I feel sad when my friends make fun of me. I stay at home [from school].”

No girl should suffer through this — yet across South Africa, too many are forced to use pieces of cloth, newspaper, or tree bark when they cannot afford sanitary products. It keeps girls out of school and women from participating in work, holding everyone back. 

#ItsBloodyTime this changes. Together with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and Menstrual Hygiene Day, we believe the government should fund free pads for people in need, as well as ensure safe toilets by 2020, and introduce quality lessons on menstrual health in schools nationwide. 

Send an email to Minister for Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti, Minister for Higher Education Naledi Pandor, and other relevant government departments, telling them #ItsBloodyTime to step up for menstrual health.