By SINOMBONGO AMAHLE
Learners from Victoria Girls’ High School are collecting sanitary pads to donate to girls at schools in Makhanda’s poorer communities and we invite members of the public to support the campaign.
For a long time, girls from poorer communities have struggled to stay in school while they’re having their periods. This is because some parents can’t afford to buy sanitary towels for their children. Most of the girl learners who are affected are the ones who go to the no-fee schools.
Victoria Girls’ High School learners are involved in a project of donating pads to Fikizolo Primary School’s girl learners.
The pad drive is done to help them be comfortable to go to school. We believe that this will be helpful for the primary school female learners, as they are still young to not be able to get what they need (pads). Sometimes it is hard for them to take care of themselves. Moreover, our aim is to help other learners in any way possible. We also want them to not be ashamed when it comes to the matter of menstruation.
The pad drive started on 30 September and it will end on 13 October in Makhanda. On 14 October, the pads will be given to the Fikizolo Primary School girl learners. These primary school learners mainly have parents who are unemployed. Some parents work in places that do not pay enough to support the family, as these learners have large extended families.
More than 70% of girls in South Africa miss school when they are having their periods. This is because they cannot afford sanitary pads. Although the sanitary pads cost R15, Covid19 has brought double trouble to everyone and they are struggling to afford them. Sometimes children are ashamed to ask for sanitary pads, as they live with single parents who are fathers.
Fikizolo Primary School is a no-fee school where the majority of the learners are in need.
Children start their periods from the age of 9 (Grade 3) and upwards. Research suggests that children start their periods at an early age because additives in some commercial foods may affect hormonal development.
I want to encourage other people who are able to also participate in this project. I believe that there are generous people out there who can do more than this and also help other schools who are experiencing the same problem, such as Samuel Ntsiko Primary, Archie Mbolekwa and many more. If there are people who want to contribute, they can drop off the sanitary towels at Victoria Girls’ High school. The pad drive ends on 13 October 2020.
- Sinombongo Amahle is a Grade 12 VGHS learner.