Alarming stats on period poverty propelled local NPO to install sanitary towel machines in schools

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"7 million South African girls do not have access to, or cannot afford to buy, sanitary products." Photo: IAMFORHER Foundation website.
"7 million South African girls do not have access to, or cannot afford to buy, sanitary products." Photo: IAMFORHER Foundation website.

Approximately 7 million South African girls do not have access to, or cannot afford to buy, sanitary products, according to Bathabile Dlamini, South Africa's Minister for Women.

Although these alarming statistics are upsetting they are a reality of period poverty in South Africa.

Speaking at the Menstrual Health Management Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dlamini said that access to sanitary products, dignified treatment and education on menstrual health management is a human rights issue that all of us must strive for.

In a bid to help, a local a non-profit organisation that operates independently of any government, IAMFORHER foundation is on a mission to destigmatise menstruation, provide education on menstruation and offer free sanitary products to schools and communities across South Africa, in honour of World Menstrual Hygiene Day celebrated on 28 May 2022.

Read: 'Lack of sanitary pads force girls to use unhygienic materials': Health expert on ending period poverty

This foundation installed sanitary towel machines at Vista High School in Cape Town and Gordon High School at Firgrove in Somerset West and donated sanitary towels to Tamboerskloof Primary in Gardens.

The founder of the foundation, Nicky Cupido and her team are busy installing sanitary towel machines at Ebenezer Primary School in Paarl, where she attended primary school.

This foundation has already donated up to 32 825 sanitary towels to young girls and women in need and has distributed over 774 education pamphlets since 2019.

IAMFORHER Head of Brand, Natalie Jardine, says that many girls and women across the country suffer from period poverty due to a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, and education around menstruation.

She says that the sociological effects of this include more than simply missing school or work but essentially means alienation from society while menstruating.

Jardine says that there is a need for proper education around menstruation, access to waste management, sanitary towels and making a difference in women.

For more information on this foundation visit their website here.

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