Rising Sun Chatsworth – Subz facilitator helps change girls lives – one school at a time

“I was working in customer care at a contact centre and when I heard about the position as a facilitator for Subz, I decided to go for it,” said the dynamic resident.

Although Nokwazi Thabethe will admit to harbouring a few nerves on her first day as a facilitator for Project Dignity, the NPO extension of Subz Pants and Pads, after a few moments spent addressing the schoolgirls, she knew she had found her calling.

“I was working in customer care at a contact centre and when I heard about the position as a facilitator for Subz, I decided to go for it,” said the dynamic resident.

She added, “I’ve been working with Subz since February and this is my Energade! I love talking about these issues and being out there with the children.”

Project Dignity has been distributing environmentally-friendly, reusable packs of Subz sanitary pads and accompanying panties to various schools for years.

Founded by Sue Barnes, creator of Subz Pants and Pads, the NPO (Project Dignity) also uses the activation as a platform to address the schoolgirls on topics such as menstruation and body changes.

Drawing on her extensive experience as a former outreach facilitator at Childline KZN, Nokwazi has really taken to her role as the Zulu facilitator for Subz, engaging with the girls and sharing useful insights.

“I discuss various topics with the girls, explaining to them the changes to expect. I also tell them they shouldn’t be scared, but rather that it’s something to be happy about. Most of these girls are not able to afford sanitary wear and their reaction inspires and motivates me to make a difference all the time. I love being able to share with them, see them laugh and smile and give them hope and that really does it for me,” she explained.

“I share my personal experiences so that they feel comfortable and know that it’s normal to have these changes. I do the talks in English and isiZulu and, sometimes when there are kids from the Eastern Cape, I talk in isiXhosa. I am able to relate using the slang that they use, and it makes them laugh. They think this is cool, she understands, she knows how we talk. So, for me, it makes my job easier to be able to communicate so easily with them,” she continued.
Her first activation at a local school is still one of her favourite moments. “I was so nervous, but afterwards two girls came and gave me a huge hug and chatted about what I’d said. Suddenly it was like ‘oh wow’. I’ve made a difference. Every time I go to schools, seeing those girls smiling, it’s so great,” she added.

And while teaching the girls is the intention, Nokwazi finds that she learns something new with each activation.  Her job as a mother to her precious two-year-old ‘diva’ has further highlighted, for Nokwazi, the need for facilitators.

“Girls need someone to push them, encourage them, be there for them. Girls need someone they can rely on. I would also like to see more men – particularly young fathers – getting involved, providing a role model for the boys,” said Thabethe.

Sue Barnes said, “Having Nokwazi join us has been truly inspiring. Her energy, enthusiasm and care for the girls is infectious. They say dynamite comes in small packages and that is how we feel about working with Nokwazi. The value that she adds to the educational talks and team is paramount. I just love working with her.”

Project Dignity offers companies and individuals with many opportunities to support those in need with reusable Subz Pants and Pads donations.


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