Department reaches out to girls

Sanitary towels and a warm meal was donated to the Xhukwesa Intermediate School in Platfontein by officials of the Department of Correctional Services. Kneeling in front doing the handover are learner Estella Bone and official Brenda Baloyi.Photo: Boipelo Mere
Sanitary towels and a warm meal was donated to the Xhukwesa Intermediate School in Platfontein by officials of the Department of Correctional Services. Kneeling in front doing the handover are learner Estella Bone and official Brenda Baloyi.Photo: Boipelo Mere

The dire need for sanitary pads for girls at the Platfontein Xunkhwesa Intermediate School remains.

The need is not only at school but in the whole community.

This was confirmed by the school’s principal, Nico Snyders, when he welcomed the two boxes of sanitary pads from staff members of the area commissioner’s office of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) on Thursday, 27 July.

At the handover the officials also serve the learners with a warm cup of soup as part of their Mandela Day initiative. According to Snyders, it is not a myth that girls continue to miss school while having their periods.

Nomonde Seeco of the DCS said they have chosen the school in an effort of improving the girls’ confidence and for them not to feel deserted from other communities.

“In our effort towards having a different approach, we met the principal to do a background check and he highlighted their plea,” she said.

According to Seeco the staff members every Friday contributed R10 towards the project.

“It is our wish to adopt the school and continue to donate items like clothing and other essentials constantly. That is if we get approval to do so from the office,” Seeco said.

“It has truly become a problem once the girls start growing up, because that is when they start showing the signs of absenteeism from school. We implemented the strategy of forming our special programme structure that we call the wellness committee, consisting of teachers, who monitor these behaviours and intervene wherever they can,” Snyders said.

“They are also the ones who knows exactly when to hand out the sanitary pads to the learners,” he said. The grateful chairperson of the school governing body, Moshe Maghunda, expressed his hope for the possible relationship with DCS and hopes the department will be granted permission to reach out to more communities in need.

“We are truly grateful for this gesture. This way the school attendance can be improved,” he added.

“Few people realise just what we go through on a daily basis. Our learners continue to stay home during that time of the month due to shame as some parents cannot afford sanitary towels.”

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