Sanitary towel donation restores dignity of pupils

Founder of NPO Salt, Babalwa Jama, urged pupils to be role models in the community.

In an effort to restore the dignity and confidence of school girls who skip classes when menstruating due to not having sanitary towels, a non-profit organisation, Salt, donated more than 80 sanitary packs to Dr Nelson Mandela High School, in Crossroads.

The handover took place on Friday September 9, and the initiative was aimed at reducing absenteeism and restoring the dignity of girls.

Speaking to Vukani, founder of Salt, Babalwa Jama, 34, said they were heartbroken when they were informed what some girls were resorting to as they could not afford sanitary towels.

This included using cloth and other materials that could cause bacterial infections.

“The pads will boost their self-esteem.

“Some stay at home when they reach that time of the month and don’t go to school because they don’t have the right protection.

“We gave the school 83 packs and they will last for a month,” she said.

She stressed that girls should not have to skip school for something that is normal and part of their life.

The organisation was established last year with the aim of improving conditions in impoverished communities.

Ms Jama took the opportunity to encourage girls to stay in school and embrace who they are.

She said as girls they need to inspire others and advised them to choose their friends wisely.

She said what was expected from them as girls was good leadership and they needed to be community builders.

Ms Jama also told the girls to help one another and to not make fun of people who were less fortunate than themselves.

She said this was their first donation and they were hoping to continue giving sanitary pads to other schools. She appealed to local businesses and the community to do more in helping black children turn their dreams into reality.

Head of Grade 9 at the school, Thembekile Rashe, said they were grateful to Salt for not only donating the sanitary towels but for encouraging and motivating the pupils to focus on their studies.

He said they hope the girls have learnt from the talk.

He believes this was a step towards reshaping and bettering the lives of township girls who come from destitute families.

“We are glad that there are still good Samaritans who care about the well-being of our children.

“We know this might be a drop in the ocean, but at least it shows the girls that there are still people who care about others,” he said.

Grade 9 pupil Azola Mzwak- ali, 16, said she said was excited to receive the pads. “I feel motivated as well after Ms Jama encouraged us not to let our bad situations discourage us from achieving our goals,” she said.