AN outreach programme has been launched where a total of 10 schools received sanitary pads and underwear donated by the Office of the Speaker of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, on January 16.The programme was launched at Ikwezilomso High School in Zwide, to assist high school girls with the much-needed items.Speaking at the handover event, Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, said, “Women all over the world should be able to receive sanitary pads for free. Sanitary towels are not a luxury, but a necessity for all girls. Condoms are a choice and not a necessity. Why are condoms free and not sanitary towels? Menstruation is not a choice.”Mafaya urged the current government to participate and support the programme to maintain the culture of Ubuntu and aiding parents to nurture their children.“The monthly social grants are not enough and unemployment is on the rise. We should stand together and help wherever we can. By donating the sanitary pads and underwear, I hope that this will encourage others to help those in need as well,” Mafaya said.A learner from KwaMagxaki High School said that she was relieved and grateful for the items. “I can go to school feeling no pressure. I feel free. This will also make my mother so happy and she will no longer have to spend money on buying sanitary pads for me,” she said.Another learner from KwaMagxaki High School added that receiving the sanitary pads would give them confidence.“I look forward to attending school now and to do my schoolwork without having to constantly worry about sanitary pads.” Some of the schools that benefited from the programme included KwaMagxaki High, Lungisa Senior Secondary, Tyhilulwazi High, Loyiso High and Msengeni High.Mafaya motivated the learners and will partner with community volunteers and the private sector to roll-out similar programmes at other local schools. “These girls are our leaders of tomorrow and we have to equip them to lead. “I urge all to work together to empower girls to build solid foundations for the generations to come,” Mafaya said.