A girl learner in the Northern Cape is absent from school for a period of at least four days every month due to lack of sanitary towels. MEC for Education in the province Martha Bartlett says this is one of the reasons there is a high rate of learners dropping out. She was speaking at the launch of the Sanitary Towel Project for the John Taole Gaetsewe District in Kathu.
Close to ten-thousand girl learners from the John Taole Gaetsewe will benefit from the Sanitary Towel Project.
The Department has partnered with mining companies, and will provide sanitary towels to 72 schools for a year. Girl learners were encouraged to celebrate womanhood and not feel ashamed. The girl learners say this initiative has restored their dignity.
“I think the donation of the sanitary towels, it will make more girls comfortable with this, it will show that this is something natural and you don’t have to scared or shy about this… because every girl goes through this at some point, ” said one of the learners.
Meanwhile, Khumani Mine HOD, Gedisa Ledwaba says they saw the need to assist girl learners in the community. “Our objective of partnering with the Northern Cape Department of Education was really about seeing the need in the communities and addressing the need of specifically girl learners in our district.”
MEC Bartlett says this is a good initiative that will help a girl learner to attend school even during their menstruation cycle.
“In the past what our children would do is, when they were on periods, they would stay away from school. Some of their parents can’t even afford to buy a loaf of bread… Because you must remember, one packet of sanitary towel is almost like R30 or R40. so which means if we can provide sanitary towels for our children for each year or every month, then at least we know our children will be at school.”
Bartlett says the event is not only about supplying sanitary towels to teenage girls, but it is also about making life changing opportunities. She reassured the girl learners that despite their circumstances, government’s.