16-year-old Mpati Letšela of Khubetsoana in Berea does business with a different approach which is meant to assist young girls from impoverished backgrounds and communities.
She founded Pandies, which is a manufacturing company that produces panties fitted with reusable sanitary pads.
In an exclusive interview with Newsday Arts, the young entrepreneur said she started the business after she realized that most impoverished women cannot afford sanitary pads which are a need every month when they experience their periods.
“I have seen the need for pandies in my village and other communities. Most of the girls from impoverished backgrounds struggle every month with getting the disposable sanitary pads so I realised that the reusable sanitary pads are a need,” Letšela said.
She said the business was started in early 2020 but it is only this year that she managed to be more focused on it and gave it attention. Letšela works with a fashion designer Maseteme Mokotjomela, who she says is the one who manufactures the pandies while she designs them.
“We produce to sell them to organisations or any person who would use them as well as those who are going to donate them to those in need. They are also available to those who would like to distribute them however they wish,” she said.
She says through her experience, she also discovered that the disposable sanitary pads made her sick hence she was prompted to research about the dangers of using them and what she found out horrified her.
“I fortunately found out that reusable pads were the answer to most of my problems because most of the time myself and other girls stain ourselves when we unexpectedly experience our periods and all those problems were solved by pandies as I can wear them whether on or not on my periods.
“I also discovered that through research that 10% of girls in Africa miss school when they are on their periods because they do not have access to sanitary products which leads to our main objective of every single impoverished teenage girl who cannot afford sanitary towels in Lesotho to acquire pandies,” she said.
According to Letšela, Pandies has been available and manufacturing since September 2020 adding that their product is environmentally friendly and will prevent pollution that is evident all over the country.
The young visionary is not only a business-minded person but also an author who wrote the story ‘Starting Over’ which was published in the Lesotho English grade 9 text books. She said the story is meant to urge pupils to take their work serious in order to secure their future.