Empowering young women

Police, pupils and members of the Gift of the Givers after the handover of a donation of sanitary towels.

On Tuesday October 8, the Gift of the Givers Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in conjunction with Nyanga police donated sanitary towels to 700 pupils at Oscar Mpetha High School in Nyanga East.

The NPO said they chose the school because poverty was rife in the area.

Now the girls at the school will not have to worry about missing valuable school time when they have their periods.

Each girl pupil received a pack of sanitary pads.

Gift of the Givers co-ordinator, Ali Sablay, said his organisation wished to continue with the drive to bring back the dignity of young women at schools.

“As you know, the dignity of women is important, of a child especially. We feel for every girl who missed out on school because they don’t have sanitary towels, it is criminal. It is unfair. We thought let us help restore the dignity of girls. That is important for Gift of the Givers – to make sure that these kids attend school in a comfortable environment. It is important for them not to miss school because of this situation that will always impact on their lives,” he said.

He said earlier this year he visited places like Queenstown, eNgcobo and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape where he noticed that girl children at schools were struggling to get sanitary towels.

Mr Sablay said the main aim of the organisation is to ensure each and every girl is not affected because of the economic struggles at home that lead to them not being able to attend school because there is no money for sanitary towels. “When I was in the Eastern Cape it was clear that something needed to be done. Hence, we have taken the drive even here. We aim to support them to change their lives,” he said.

Nyanga police spokesperson, Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi, took the opportunity to encourage young girls to live their lives in a good way. Captain Sitshitshi gave tips on personal safety and warned against the consequences of taking drugs.

“You ought to choose your friends very well. Don’t be involved with ‘baes’ (boyfriends or girlfriends) for money and nice clothes. If your family cannot afford something, do not worry. Stick to your books. Your future is important. There have been a lot of rapes and killings of young people, please be careful,” she said.

Teachers and pupils welcomed the donation. Pupil Athenkosi Dyudyuza felt the donation was long overdue. She said she believed sanitary towels should be freely given to pupils, especially disadvantaged ones. “Most parents are not working and their daughters are forced to use cloth when they have their periods. That is why it is important for girls to be given free pads,” she said.

Gift of the Givers has undertaken to make donations to other schools too, when and where they can.