There is no shortage of amazing stories highlighted throughout the ConnectHER ecosystem. From economic independence to sex trafficking, each story told is shared to amplify women’s voices and the critical issues they face across the globe. Through pitchfests, film festivals, fellowships and projects, ConnectHer is spearheading this movement of global change. And while these stories leave their audiences inspired, some take it a step further and encourage us to take action.
That’s exactly what happened when Connie Shih met Tinayeishe “Tinaye” Wakatama, a high school student in Zimbabwe.
Like much of our new normal, it happened remotely. Connie attended the 10th Annual ConnectHER Film Festival last October, where she watched film after film told through the lens of young directors and storytellers. Tinaye’s tale And That’s On Period played, a sobering depiction of period poverty and the emotional, mental and psychological pain the girls in her piece experience — in addition to the physical. Losing sleep, missing school and jeopardizing their health with homemade remedies are just a few ways Tinaye describes the turmoil these girls go through every 28 days because their families have to choose between buying bread or pads and pain relief. There really isn’t a choice.
As a double minority, I sometimes overlook how my simple access to things is my privilege. Tinaye’s film was a very sharp reminder to myself and those in the audience. So much so, she won the $5,000 Judges’ Choice Award and a new admirer and partnership. After seeing her film, Connie (who is the Founder and CEO of Heralogie, a period underwear brand with products that are both comfortable and sustainable) approached the ConnectHER team wanting to work out a way to supply pads to girls in Zimbabwe without access to them.
After months of correspondence between ConnectHER, Heralogie and Tinaye, ConnectHER was able to sponsor the payment and shipment of the pads.
They arrived recently and are currently being disbursed to the rural areas of those in need with the help of Nduna Girls, a non-profit that provides mentorship, work and support for young women and girls in Zimbabwe. We’ll be back with more details on the girls who received these new menstrual products and the continued impact Tinaye, ConnectHER and Heralogie are striving to make — stay tuned …
The Founder of Heralogie answers some questions about how a movie sparked a partnership across the world.
To learn more about how this beautiful partnership took form, Connie shared more about how the stars aligned for her products to land on Zimbabwean soil.
Part of the reason I founded Heralogie was to give back to women, girls and menstruators who are in need. It is part of the ethos of the company, and since its launch, has been a very important mission to me, personally, and also to our audience. At the ConnectHER Film Fest, I was so touched by Tinaye’s documentary on the state of period poverty in Zimbabwe that I thought I just had to help out in any way I could.
I truly hope that the project will be able to positively impact the lives of so many girls and menstruators in Zimbabwe. I hope that they can have a better quality of life, be able to attend school and live their lives without the concern of having to continually purchase plastic period products. I hope that this project will be able to cut down on plastic menstrual waste as our products are reusable. I hope that the girls and menstruators will be able to love/embrace their bodies and walk with their heads held high. I hope that these pads will help the girls/menstruators with confidence and peace of mind.
I hope that the concept of reusable products is further promoted through everyone who is impacted by the project. I hope more people adopt reusable period products instead of using plastic, disposable ones. I hope that the people who read/hear about this project will be inspired to advocate for period equity and perhaps donate products as well to their local communities in need.
I am so honored to be a part of this project and so excited to hear what the girls/menstruators think of the pads. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to give back on this level. I am saddened by global menstrual inequity and hope that this project will do its share in helping out, even if it’s just a little bit. I am grateful for the time of those who are reading this. I send the pads with love.