Sanitary towel drive for school girls

Parent and community member Mzoli Tempi hands out pads to schoolgirls.

A non-profit organisation handed packs of sanitary pads to about 400 girls at schools in Khayelitsha on Monday.

Girls for Tomorrow distributed the pads at Matthew Goniwe High, Usasazo High and Noluthando School for the Deaf.

Girls For Tomorrow was started late last year by police officers from Khayelitsha after they learnt that girls, who couldn’t afford the pads, were staying home from school during their periods.

Constable Pelisa Ngxokela, a founding member of the group, said she and several friends were working on a plan to deliver a regular supply of pads to schoolgirls who needed them.

“But we would not succeed to do that alone. We need support from our friends, business people and the entire country to be able to provide. Even now we had to bring on friends and concerned residents to be able to provide these,” she said.

She urged those who can afford to buy the pads to help with donations.

Grade 8 Matthew Goniwe High pupil Onam Mbane was thankful for the donations.

“This is a great gesture, and we are thankful to the donors. It is true that most girls do not come to school when they have their periods. We have parents who cannot afford to buy pads. This will really help most girls. I am one of those who this will help,” she said.

One of the donors, Mzoli Tempi, stressed how important it was for people to work together to get the pads to girls who needed them.

“This might look small and petty to some people, but if you truly know the past of a black child, you will understand where we come from.

“The truth is that we have families who are unemployed. We have grannies who stay with grandchildren, who live only on social grants. But unemployment is massive and some families cannot afford to buy a simple bread.

“Imagine such families when they have to split their money for children to go to school and still buy sanitary towels. They really could not afford that,” he said.

Mr Tempi chided friends who spent hundreds of rand in shebeens and taverns’ saying they could do more to help girls in the community.