‘Dignity packs’ for needy girls

2011-09-03 16:44

Poor adolescent girls throughout the country will soon ­benefit from a government initiative aimed at ­providing them with toiletries.

Gauteng’s health and social development department was the first province to launch the project this week.

The parcels, called “dignity packs”, include enough sanitary towels, lotion, deodorant and soap to last a month.

“We’re doing this to help girls avoid ­getting ­involved with sugar daddies for money,” said Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s spokesperson Xoli Mngambi.

The department said girls who can’t afford sanitary towels often bunk school when they have their period. It has not yet set a target of how many girls it aims to reach and will run the project for “as long as there is a need”.

On Wednesday, Mokonyane ­attended the project launch in Zuurbekom outside Joburg, where she handed out packs to girls.

Provincial health spokesperson Simon Zwane said the project would target poverty-stricken areas.

“We have a scope of poor households and we’re not so much concerned with ­numbers as much as need,” Zwane said.

The next phase will involve getting needy households on a food-packs database. The department plans to hand out the packs in schools every month.

National health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said: “The dignity-packs project is a national initiative and will therefore be rolled out nationally.

“In Gauteng it’s already been launched, but other provinces will have to signal when they’re ready to implement it as budgets and planning has to be considered.” 

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