Helping girls meet basic needs

The staff at Islamic Relief. Pictured at back, from left, are Luqmaan Allie and Mohammed Aus Bock. In front are Nazarene Inglis, Razaan Dadabhay and Rishqah Sulaiman.

Islamic Relief South Africa aims to donate 12 000 packs of sanitary pads to 1 000 girls through the 12 for 1 campaign.

The organisation, based in Lansdowne, launched the campaign on Women’s day, Tuesday August 9.

The initiative will provide each girl with one packet of pads every month for 12 months. The organisation’s main focus this year is gender-based violence and the needs of women.

The pads are to be distributed in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, as well as in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Islamic Relief spokeswoman, Shanaaz Ebrahim said the campaign was launched in order to provide young girls with a basic need.

“We do supply households with their basic needs but lots of girls don’t have access to sanitary pads. Often in a household where the income is less than R3 000 a month and there is more than one child, sanitary pads are seen as a luxury item,” said Ms Ebrahim.

“Condoms are readily available and free, but sanitary pads which are urgently needed is not. How can a mother earning less than R3 000 a month buy sanitary pads for herself and sometimes four or five daughters?”

“In some households mothers have to already put aside money for emergencies, in a family of four or five which is usually around R600. So where do they find money for sanitary pads as well?”

Islamic Relief’s care workers, based in Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Bokmakierie, and Kewtown, also speak to the young girls about how to cope with puberty and personal hygiene.

They hope the 12 for 1 campaign will restore the girls’ dignity.

Ms Ebrahim said many girls still don’t feel comfortable speaking about their menstrual cycles.

“A lot of girls are ashamed or shy about getting their menstrual cycles. Instead of celebrating becoming a woman, they feel ashamed. We want to create a safe space for them to speak about it,” she said.

The organisation relies on donations from the community, and has also been approaching businesses to come on board to sponsor toiletries. Donations can be made in the form of one or more packets of sanitary pads, or a donation of R300 which will provide a year’s supply of 12 packets of sanitary pads to one of the girls.

So far the organisation has received 152 packets of sanitary pads.

Donations can be dropped off at the Islamic Relief offices in Imam Haron Road, Lansdowne.

One of their other projects involves putting together a dignity pack, which includes a face cloth, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, underwear, and personal hygiene education material.

For more information, call 021 696 0145.