The women of South Africa have always had a knack for innovation. Innovations that usually benefit not only their immediate family but also their community.
Social entrepreneurship is one of the key industries where women are taking massive strides in eliminating the employment issue in South Africa while addressing the social problems relevant to our generation.
Leafline, a South African social enterprise, is the catalyst for an innovative range of reusable and washable adult, women’s and baby hygiene products.
Located in Bathurst in the Eastern Cape, an important pineapple-growing region for South Africa, the uniqueness of the Leafline’s range lies in the fact that the inner linings arise from the fibers of all pineapple leaves.
This innovation is a South African, and world first. Candy holds the patent for the first use of pineapple leaf fiber in a way that has turned the incontinence and intimate hygiene industry on its head.
This is the new way this naturally occurring material can be used to be both hypoallergenic and absorbent; The nature of the product revolutionizes ethical sanitary wear.
Founder and business owner Candy Androliakos, a beauty therapist by profession, identified the need for comfortable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly sanitary wear as a permanent solution to incontinence in adults, female menstrual health, and baby/child health and hygiene. Identified.
A resident of Bathurst, Kandy discovered that pineapple leaves could be processed into a soft cotton wool-like substance, and began experimenting with producing a range of washable and reusable hygiene products.
Leafline’s range of products now includes adult and baby nappies, sanitary towels, breast pads, as well as chair and bed protectors. Leafline has also registered a patent on the unique inner lining that forms the basis of its product range.
Candies is in the business of restoring reputation. Leafline produces products that directly restore the dignity of South Africans.
Sanitary wear most notably among young women faces the current crisis of period poverty, which many South Africans live in, and their inability to access sanitary towels and products during their menstruation.
The elderly and incontinence are also cared for. All inner linings are made of pineapple leaf fibers that are free of bacteria and have strong reuse properties; Fiber also has excellent odor, moisture and bacterial absorption properties.
The inner lining is wrapped in cotton or a waterproof exterior, and the end result is discreet and practical products that are more economical and kinder to the environment than their disposable counterparts.
The lining is easy to wash for reuse. They need to be soaked overnight, and then hand washed at 40 degrees. They are also machine washable at low temperatures. Kandy says, “It is imperative that our products have a positive impact on the lives of the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
The cost of adult sanitary wear is not affordable for many elderly and disabled South Africans. Our adult incontinence range is significantly cheaper than disposable options, as well as more comfortable and easier for caregivers to work with.
“Similarly, many young girls from poor communities often have to stay home from school during their periods because they cannot afford sanitary towels.
“We are excited about the potential impact that our products can have on reducing the financial burden on some of the most vulnerable areas of our country”, she said.
Leafline and Candy are taking on period poverty with their ‘End Period Poverty’ campaign. A large percentage of young girls and women cannot afford disposable sanitary wear and have to resort to other options or stay away from school altogether.
“Using old clothes and newspaper is unhealthy and can lead to health problems and infections. So we must collectively do everything possible to ensure that no young girl or woman goes through this every month.” Candy says
Leafline collaborates with Silent Rights – Women Against Abuse and GBV (Silent Rights – Women Against Abuse) to distribute sanitary towels where it is most needed, across the country, and anyone can be a part of this initiative.
For every 40 rand, investing in 3-5 of Leafline’s sanitary towels can ensure that a young girl or woman doesn’t need to buy pads for an entire year. The product is discreet, comfortable and effective.
Leafline seeks to partner with businesses, schools and other interested stakeholders to ensure that every girl and woman has access to safe, ecological and affordable menstrual products.
Readers can support by donating to buy a pack of 5 sanitary towels to buy a young girl in need of peace of mind for a year. Donations to schools, or communities of readers’ choice, are also possible.
The project has had a positive impact on the economy of the local community as it employs 5 people from a local NGO, Nkuthazveni Skills Training College, which supports and empowers persons with disabilities.
As production increases in demand, it is expected that the leafline will provide employment to many more people in the surrounding community.
Leafline was awarded first place in the SAB Foundation’s Disability Empowerment Awards in 2021 for its social innovation aimed at improving quality of life for persons with disabilities through assistive devices, training, or employment.
For more information contact Leafline on 073 165 5632 or visit their website: www.leafline.co.za