Puberty can be a very stressful time in the lives of young girls as their bodies begin to change. Imagine facing puberty with a lack of knowledge about menstrual health and without the money to afford sanitary towels.
The Agricultural Research Council’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Research division (ARC–OVR) recently visited Onderstepoort Primary in Pretoria. The institution donated about 100 boxes of sanitary towels to learners at the school. Isaac Ntshauba, spokesperson for ARC–OVR, says approximately 50 girls received the necessary toiletry.
According to Ntshauba this is an ongoing project promoting hygiene to young girls and to improve their school attendance. He says that learners were overjoyed by the donation, as many of them come from previously disadvantaged communities. As a result of not being able to buy sanitary towels many of the learners stay out of school for a few days. This ultimately has a negative influence on their schoolwork.
“The main purpose of the project is to help provide young girls with sanitary towels and to ensure that menstrual health is well managed. Most of these underprivileged girls miss school at least 2 to 3 days each month over menstruation. We also donated sanitary towels to improve learners’ confidence,” Ntshauba added.
Meanwhile, this project will continue and expand to other schools in the area. Ntshauba says the intention is not to cover sanitary pads only, but to eventually include food parcels and school uniforms as part of the project.