NPO donates washable sanitary towels

Cuddle Trust project manager, Leona Scheepers, talks to the girls about the importance of respecting their bodies.

Many young girls across the country often skip school when they are menstruating as they cannot afford pads and are forced to use unhygienic items such as old rags and newspaper. The gesture by the two organisations aims to prevent absenteeism, restore dignity and promote hygiene.

The washable sanitary towels could last for up to three years.

Cuddle Trust project manager, Leona Scheepers, said sanitary towels wre expensive and many young girls came from poor families.

Ms Scheepers said they hoped teaching and learning time wouldn’t be disrupted now that some pupils had these pads. She described these sanitary towels as innovative and progressive and they were made in a such way that they looked like a smart handkerchief and not a sanitary towel.

Ms Scheepers said the sanitary towels were made by people in Gugulethu so it helped to create job opportunities. She said that other people in the township could buy these sanitary towels from those who made it.

Ms Scheepers said the sanitary towels could be used by all ages and they were hoping to make more donations to other schools.

She said they also empower young girls with knowledge about their bodies to try and prevent teenage pregnancy. Ms Scheepers said this project was started many years ago in Kenya and Washington and spread throughout the world. With about 50 countries worldwide benefiting from it. She said young girls should never be ashamed of menstruation as it is a natural process.

“These sanitary towels are aimed at reducing the burden of families that don’t have much.

“It is our collective duty as the world to ensure that the girl child does not skip school because they did not have money to buy sanitary towels.

“Through this project we are also creating employment. We should rally behind this project. We want to restore the dignity of the girl child,” she said. Days For Girls Ambassador, Lucinda Stemela, said she chose the school simply because she was a former pupil there and wanted them to be the first to benefit. She said access to sanitary towels should be a basic human right.

She hoped the young girls would be agents of change and play an active role in developing their communities so they did not want them to miss school.

Grade 9 pupil Zimkhitha Yawa said she would no longer be worried about whether her parents had money to buy pads for her.