Most women resort to unhygienic practises just to survive the cycle because sanitary towels remain a luxury for millions of women in South Africa due to the high level of poverty and the commodification of the basic product. North West Premier Thandi Modise said after distributing towels to 300 girl-learners at two rural schools in Dryharts near Taung on Wednesday.
Premier Modise said that government is considering a sustainable and coordinated intervention targeting girl-learners because several sources have revealed that the majority of girls in Africa miss up to 50 days of schooling each year due to menstrual related challenges resulting with girl learners missing up to 300 days(almost a whole year) over a period of 6 years.
Modise expressed appreciation for the partnership and donation of sanitary towels received through MEC for Economic Development, Conservation, Environment and Tourism, Motlalepula Rosho from gambling licensees like Carousel Casino, Mmabatho Palms, Betting World, Zonke Monitiring and Phumela.
The Premier who was also accompanied by MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Manketse Tlhape, the Executive Mayor of Dr Ruth Mompati District Municipality Tshoganyetso Tladinyane, the Mayor of Greater Taung Local Municipality,Kaone Lobelo and other senior government officials encouraged learners at Molehabangwe Middle School and Sekate Mahura Middle School to focus on their studies as a way to have a better future.
“It doesn’t matter where you grow up, the most important thing is to focus on your goal. You must abstain from sex. Be what you want to be because you determine your future. She also urged learners to report any form of abuse irrespective of who the culprit is. “I urge you to report sexual offences where it’s a teacher, a fellow learner or anybody, notify the police,” added Premier Modise.
The Chairperson of the School Governing Body at Molehabangwe Middle School, Pelonomi Khumoeng said the donation of sanitary pads shows that the government cares about the youth particularly female learners who often face multiple challenges.
“We are very happy that the Premier is here today because parents in our communities are very poor and often struggle to provide sufficiently for their children. This shows that our government cares because children at this school are beneficiaries of the school nutrition programme,” said the elated Khumoeng.
Katlego Sekgetho, one of the 140 female learners who received the sanitary towels Molehabangwe Middle School said she was excited that the Premier has chosen to come to their school. “I am so excited that the Premier came here to advise us about how to deal with some of the challenges that we often encounter without knowing who to ask,” said the grade 7 learner.
Realeboga Kalamore and Mokakale Boingotlo of Skate Mahura Middle School said they have been inspired by Premier Modise’s message.
“I am now more inspired than ever before to take my studies very seriously,” said the elated Mokakale who is in grade 9.
Neo Letlhogela, a reading coach and debate convenor who visits schools in the area three times a week to work with learners said the initiative will go a long way in empowering female learners.
“I am so happy that the Premier has emphasised the importance of self-respect and I am confident that learners will take the advice seriously so that they don’t lose focus of their goals,” said Lethogela.