Teen calls on men to do good too

2017-04-18 06:00
Avantika Naidoo (16) from Rondebosch has a selfless passion for helping young women who are less fortunate.

Avantika Naidoo (16) from Rondebosch has a selfless passion for helping young women who are less fortunate.

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A brave 16-year-old hero says helping disadvantaged women deal with their menstruation should not just be a women only thing – men too must play a role.

Avantika Naidoo from Rondebosch made a selfless gesture by donating what should have been her birthday present to needy girls at St George’s Home in February.

Instead of buying gifts for her birthday in January Naidoo asked her family and friends to raise funds to buy reusable Subz panties and pads with the aim to make a difference in the lives of other young women.

For this, the Grade 10 learner of Rustenburg Girls’ High School was nominated by her friend as a Youth Hero in the Lead SA campaign. This inspired her to want to grow the initiative and involve men.

“It doesn’t have to be just women who have to participate in this cause as it is a natural process. Men too can contribute and make a difference, like most men who have received my request. By doing this we can learn not to take things for granted and truly appreciate what we have. We are living such a comfortable life, sometimes we forget about the people who don’t even have a roof to sleep under.

“I feel honoured to have been selected as the Hero of the Month, but to be honest it was not all just me but everyone who helped with donations so that I was able to do this good deed. So really everyone who helped is a hero. I never thought the project would escalate to what it has.”

She says she managed to raise R5000, which was enough to buy 32 Subz packs that were split between 17 girls at St George’s Home and fifteen learners at Kerria Primary School in Atlantis.

“My mom and I plan to raise funds where possible as it is an ongoing need in disadvantaged communities and schools.”

Avantika’s mother Pregashnie Naidoo says she is blessed to have a daughter who is truly compassionate about the needs of fellow girls and understands that a combined effort can go a long way.

They have since joined Project Dignity that focuses on empowering and supporting women in need. Its founder, Sue Barnes, says she was happy to have Pregashnie and Avantika help in her project.

Graeme Cairms, director of St George’s Home, says the donation was appreciated and has helped the home save some money. He says the home welcomes anyone who wants to donate with the aim of helping make a difference in the girls’ lives.

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