bout 200 young girls from Nkone-Maruping Primary School in Soweto have been supplied with sanitary products by the SABC Foundation.
This initiative forms part of the foundation’s corporate social responsibility to empower and educate teenage girls about feminine hygiene products.
Sanitary pads are a basic necessity for young girls but not always accessible to the less privileged.
One of the pupils says that when she has her menstrual cycle she is forced to resort to unconventional methods.
“When my mother doesn’t have money to buy pads, she cuts a cloth for me and I use it, or I would use tissue instead,” says the pupil.
One in five girls in South Africa miss school every month due to the lack of access to sanitary products.
“Sometimes when I am playing skipping with my friends, I mess myself without realising and they won’t tell me, instead they [will] laugh at me,” the pupil says.
However, with the SABC Foundation’s intervention her dignity has been restored.
Janine Michael of SABC Wellness says, “Emotionally and mentally they think that something is wrong with them. But it is actually important because it’s a milestone in their life, and what we are trying to do is teach them that this is something that is manageable.”
Seipei Shole of SABC Foundation says, “It’s difficult for girls to go to school when they are menstruating and they also do not partake in activities such as sports … that is why we as the SABC Foundation decided to assist.”
There is hope that such initiatives will help young girls reach their full potential – without having to worry about their menstrual cycle.
Non-governmental Organisations are also calling for more interventions to help girls receive sanitary pads. Executive Director of Amandla.mobi Koketso Moeti says the need for sanitary pads is dire in South Africa.
“Two point one million girls are being left behind because they cannot access sanitary pads, it is just a reminder that we cannot be talking about the youth, we cannot be pushing for youth to be doing this and that, whereas we are leaving the girl children behind. It is a reminder that girls do not choose to have their period; that the need for sanitary pads is essentially an essential need because this is a natural monthly phenomenon, something that girls cannot control. If we are asking youth to lead the country forward, we cannot do that until girls are not left behind.”