Learners of Voorbrug High School say there is a need to raise more awareness of reusable sanitary pads and coping with periods.These schoolgirls were talking on Thursday in Woodstock during the launch of the Girls on the Go campaign that is run by the Clicks Helping Hand Trust in partnership with Subz Panties and Pads.The campaign aims to empower girls with life skills and educate them on developments taking place in their bodies during puberty. The trust aims to help thousands of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds gain confidence and understand how the reusable pads work. Anele Maqongo, a learner in Grade 11, says she is happy with the sanitary pads because she will now be able to attend school as she wants and not worry about the embarrassment and shortage of pads. She says many girls from her school have experienced the challenge of being forced to bunk classes because they did not have enough pads. “Some would even decide to stay at home. “Though we are taught about the changes and everything happening in our bodies with periods, it becomes a problem. Some of us still feel embarrassed and cannot open up about it. The hygiene and how to cope with pains is something that is normally discussed. The only thing people think of when you talk about periods is that you need pads and it ends there. We need programmes like these where they focus on broader aspects of the topic,” says Anele.Another Grade 11 learner, Asavela Phaliso, says she is glad her school is involved in the campaign as it is teaching them more and has helped them beyond just the use of sanitary pads. Donna Davids, coordinator of the trust, explains that for every washable, reusable sanitary pad sold nationwide at Clicks, the trust will donate one to a girl in need. Davids says: “You can now keep a girl in school for only R29.95 with every washable, reusable pad sold [at our stores]. We are appealing to the public to support this campaign.“The response has been different according to the needs of the community in that area. If you go to the city areas you will find that girls are hesitant to use these at first, but in the rural areas people are very thankful because it is something they have always wanted and some have been doing it the old way. They cannot afford the money to buy on a monthly basis.”She says the campaign aims to raise its target from 10 000 girls to 21 000 and says the public can also buy pads and donate them back to the store or to Subz if they do not want to use the reusable pads themselves.Davids says they have built a network across the country through NGOs and schools where the girls will be identified and receive the pads. These pads are said to have a life span of three years.