Petunia Shongoane’s sanitary towel donation drive is currently working to ensure that girls in rural areas do not miss school while they are on their periods. Her efforts come after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for ordinary South Africans and private companies to adopt a school in need, so she decided to donate sanitary pads to two rural schools because the majority of girls in rural areas do not have access to sanitary pads.
The Project Manager at the National Library of South Africa said the donation would bring dignity to young girls who would miss up to 11 weeks of school a year and this often means they do not perform as well as other children. “A lot of young girls drop out of school because they are made to suffer the indignity of being teased by their peers when they go through their menstrual cycle,” she said.
On the other hand, through the sanitary programme, the SA government has supplied more than 115 million pupils with sanitary towels in the 2019/20 financial year. According to Acting Chief Director for Social Empowerment at the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. Sipiwo Matshoba, the pads ensured that no girl child missed or dropped out of school because they were menstruating.
He said they are working with various provincial government departments to eventually provide free sanitary towels to all girls at no-fee schools.“As part of the Sanitary Dignity Framework, we are forming partnerships with non-governmental organisations and private companies to increase the number of sanitary towels that are donated to schools, especially the no-fee schools,” said Matshoba.