KOUGA Mayor Horatio Hendricks and his team gave young and old a reason to smile on Nelson Mandela Day last week. The Mayor hosted an extensive programme across the region as Kouga Municipality joined people across the world in celebrating late President Mandela’s birthday. It was all about girl power at the Thornhill Combined School, where girl learners from the higher grades each received a special sanitary package from Kouga’s Special Programmes Unit. “A recent study revealed that 30% of South African girls miss school when they are menstruating because they cannot afford sanitary products. This has a far-reaching impact on their education,” Hendricks said. “We wanted to honour Madiba’s memory by making it possible for these girls to attend school without fear for the remainder of the year.”Encouraging youngsters to recycle waste was the focus at schools in Humansdorp on Mandela Day. The municipality’s Waste and Environmental Management section delivered six recycling bins each to Humansdorp Senior Secondary, Kruisfontein Primary, Graslaagte Primary and St Patrick’s Primary. “The recycling programme not only teaches children to look after their surroundings, it also becomes a means for schools to generate extra income. “We have been handing out bins to schools across Kouga and are pleased that we could incorporate it into our Mandela Day Programme as well,” Hendricks said. Safety and security was another focus of the municipality’s Mandela Day programme. Floodlights were installed at the entrance to upper Vaaldam in Humansdorp and the surrounding bushy areas were cleared with the help of Community Works Programme (CWP) teams. Various role players, including the police, also joined hands for a massive bush-clearing exercise at Boskloof. Mayor Hendricks started his Mandela Day by helping to revamp the house of Salman Malgas, a wheelchair-bound resident from Vaaldam. The house received a fresh coat of paint, the lawn was trimmed and the municipality’s Maintenance section revamped the house’s bathroom to make it more disabled friendly. “It feels incredible to be the centre of so much love,” 63-year-old Malgas said.“I am very grateful to the Council for seeing my need and making a difference in my life this Mandela Day,” Municipal staffers were also encouraged to donate second-hand clothing. A long washing line was strung up at the main office in Jeffreys Bay and was soon overflowing with donations. The clothing will be distributed to those in need.