Schools pad up for World Menstrual Hygiene Day

Silikamva High School in Imizamo Yethu were one of the first beneficiaries to receive a donation of sanitary products. Pictured at the handover are Lilitha Plaatjie and Sedick Arendse, chief store operations officer at Clicks group. At the back are former SA cricketer, JP Duminy and Dr Sibu Lubelwana, obstetrician and gynaecologist.

STAFF REPORTER

Over the next month, the Clicks Helping Hand Trust Girls on the Go programme will be donating 600 000 sanitary pads to 16 schools and non-profit organisations across South Africa.

“When we talk about period poverty, we’re really talking about the poverty of missed opportunities. Days out of school. Tests skipped, exams missed. Stigma. Even shame. These have long-term consequences on a young girl’s life, and we can all help by shining the spotlight on this very real issue,” said Sue Duminy, influencer, entrepreneur and mother.

Sue and her husband, former international cricketer JP Duminy, joined the Clicks Helping Hand Trust to hand over 3 000 sanitary pad packs, 900 packs of wipes and 1000 hand and surface sanitiser sprays to pupils at Silikamva High School in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, in the build-up to World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Friday May, 28.

The R1 million handover forms part of the Clicks Helping Hand Trust Girls on the Go campaign, which will be donating sanitary products to schoolgirls who don’t have regular access to quality sanitary products.

“We identified the lack of access to sanitary products as a major barrier to education and equal opportunities some time ago,” says Leigh Schuster, school administrator at Silikamva High School.

“This support makes a big difference in these girls’ lives, to know that their needs are recognised and they are supported.”

Manager of the trust, Sanele Nyathi, explained that initiative is a collaborative effort between like-minded companies and initiatives.

“To make the donation of 600 000 sanitary pads possible, you need partners and you need a common goal: we believe no woman or girl should be kept from realising her full potential because she menstruates. This donation will hopefully go a long way in improving our girls’ educational experience and outcomes,” she said.

Research shows that one in seven South African school-going girls report not having enough sanitary products for each period in the past three months, and that this lack of access to sanitary wear and adequate sanitation facilities can affect a girl’s attendance at school by 25% per year as a result.

The programme aims to promote access to healthcare and the importance of menstrual wellbeing, said Ms Nyathi.

“In this way, it is helping young girls to take charge of their menstrual health and drive a healthier future for our communities,” she said.