Campaign restores girls’ dignity

2018-05-23 06:00
Present at the launch are from the left Busisiwe Mgandi, Ruth Palm (MEC for Sport), Donna Davids (Clicks corporate social investment manager), Bongi Ntabane, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba (MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture), Maria Vumazonke, Amahle Ruiters, Senzo Mapala (principal of the Steynville High School) and Brenda Mbampa (mayor of the Thembihle Municipality). Photo: Supplied

Present at the launch are from the left Busisiwe Mgandi, Ruth Palm (MEC for Sport), Donna Davids (Clicks corporate social investment manager), Bongi Ntabane, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba (MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture), Maria Vumazonke, Amahle Ruiters, Senzo Mapala (principal of the Steynville High School) and Brenda Mbampa (mayor of the Thembihle Municipality). Photo: Supplied

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In an effort to ensure that young girls’ dignity is not diminished or degraded by their monthly period, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture launched its reusable sanitary towel panties campaign.

Partnering with the Clicks Helping Hands Trust, the campaign started at the Steynville High School on Thursday, 10 May, and promises to be rolled out to rural schools in the Northern Cape.

A reusable sanitary towel panty has a life span of approximately three to five years, and is regarded as being environmentally friendly, and an affordable sanitary option at Clicks stores.

Developed, designed and manufactured by Sue Barnes, the founder of Project Dignity, the product is made of five layers of specialised fabrics which earned it an SABS absorbency approval. Barnes developed the product after learning about the dire situation in African schools of young women who are forced to miss vital classroom time because of a lack of adequate sanitary products.

Taking into consideration the geographical landscape of the Northern Cape, and its high level of poverty in the rural areas, the partnership saw to the implementation of the Girls on the Go campaign at identified schools.

The distribution of reusable sanitary towels will not only ensure that girls will be able to attend school during their monthly cycles, but will also have a financial benefit to impove­rished families. There will be a lesser need to purchase sanitary towels for the girls in their household.

Learners of the Steynville High School in Hopetown, Strydenburg High School, Griquatown Combined School and the Karrikama High School attended the launch.

The MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, pointed out various aspects that link girls’ school attendance to their menstrual cycles.

“The lack of affordable sanitary products for young women keeps them at a disadvantage in terms of education when they are young, and prevents their mobility and productivity as young women. Without sanitary products, girls are excluded from their right to an education as stipulated by the Constitution of South Africa.”

She went on to say that the sanitary towels not only enable girls to attend class regularly, but improve on the government’s goal of making access to education simpler.

Eventually it will ensure better economic exposure for young women.

Donna Davids, Clicks corporate social investment manager, said that girls from disadvantaged backgrounds miss up to a week of school during their period as they are not able to afford basic sanitary wear.

“This has a profound negative impact on their education. For this reason, the Clicks Helping Hand Trust is committed to keep girls in school by distributing reusable sanitary hygiene packs to schools across South Africa in the hope of reducing absenteeism,” Davids said.

“While we will continue with our activations which aim to provide all young South African women with reusable sanitary towels, we are thrilled that the public is also able to purchase these user-friendly products while supporting the Girls on the Go campaign.”

The Clicks Helping Hand Trust is a registered non-profit organisation which offers free clinic services to disadvantaged South Africans who do not have a medical aid and lack the access to basic primary health care services.

The trust is also active in local communities through the Girls on the Go campaign, and provides support to some of the 2,5 million girls in the country who miss school every month due to a lack of basic sanitary wear.

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