ONE PAD CAN CHANGE A GIRL’S LIFE
By: Sinenhlanhla Mthembu
The story of a Good Samaritan is one that many Christians are familiar with; doing good for others is part of the Faith.
Thulisile Mhlangu is one woman who is playing the part of a Good Samaritan in her community through her Pad Project Imbali.
Thuli is just another shadow in society, one you can easily pass by as she is a replica of a woman you have seen before, a mother, wife and a sister.
Imbali is an answer to a silent cry from young girls yearning for guidance, life skills and mentorship.
“Young girls are as a flower,” says Imbali founder Thuli. “Flowers are delicate and beautiful as a woman should be.
She took it upon herself to find out the girls needs and she then realised a relationship with them was necessary. It’s only then that she could unpack what they really needed. “They needed more information about sexuality and guidance,” says Thuli.
Thuli started the Imbali project out of the urge and responsibility she felt she had as a mother and woman.
“At first I used to ask friends to donate sanitary pads and was only able to help 2800 girls”. After distributing those pads something significant and moving happened- one of the girls came up to her and told her, “thank you, I will no longer have to use a cloth.”
From that day she thought she should commit herself to this and that’s when the Imbali project was propelled to grow into being what it is today.
“Imbali reminds me that what I do is not only about providing pads but about nurturing these young women and interacting with them on a mother-daughter level.”
Through the Imbali initiative four schools in and around KZN are provided with pads. “The project is able to grow in the schools even without me being there, because I have mentored a girl in each school to head and oversee the project with their peers,” Thuli added.
With all her duties as a mother and wife, she is still able to dig within and unconditionally give her time, love and money to help.
Thuli feels it is important to work hand in hand with the parents of these girls. “I met one of the girl’s mothers and she was overwhelmed with emotion and was grateful for the work I do,” says Thuli compassionately.
In her humbleness, her nurturing spirit has helped and given hope to many. Her handing over mere sanitary pad to a needing girl, may forever change that girl’s life.
As much as the work Thuli does is for a good course, it requires capital to sustain it. “I have to ensure that a budget is set aside each month to buy the pads,” says Thuli.
Just like in Isaiah 6:8, the Lord asked “who shall I send?”, Thuli has availed herself for God’s work and has proclaimed, “Here am I. Send me!”
God has called us for missions great and small, and what may seem small with the natural eye, God has purposely predestined and values it.
“I believe God has called me for this. Many women are called to leadership positions in church, business and high rankings in society, yet God saw it fit for me to provide pads to girls who need it most”.
For Thuli that is the greatest gift she could give.
“I treat this as an offering to God. Giving tithes and offering is not only about money but also about time and compassion,” Thuli has realised through her work.
Thuli has found other ways to raise money. with the Phenomenal Woman Event she is able to raise R10 000 through ticket sales and those who buy the tickets bring a pad too.
The event is also a way to show people that Imbali is not just about pads buts also a life skills program for women of all ages.
Thuli hopes to see Imbali become a platform where other women apart from herself come and work with the girls.
It’s rare for a woman with children of her own to extend that love and nurturing to other children in lack.
We can all tear a page from Thuli’s book, and aspire to do good and as simple as it may seem the impact it can do to someone else’s life is huge.