Too many young women in South Africa often battle to access sanitary pads during their menstruation period and this leaves them feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed. What can we do to help?
UNICEF University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg (UKZN-PMB) therefore set out to collect sanitary products during the course of August, which is national Women’s Month. As a team, we collected 3,000 sanitary pads from the general public and other esteemed associations such as, the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa. We bundled the sanitary products into little care packages of one month’s supply for the recipients.
On the 9th of September 2022, we distributed 430 packages to ZibukeZulu High School in Imbali, Edendale. UNICEF UKZN-PMB collaborated with Rosebank College-UNICEF Campus Club and Golden Key Association-UKZN which allowed us to spread this sanitary pad drive across all platforms.
We were able to distribute to Grades 8 to 11 in ZibukeZulu High School which had approximately 220 young girls and we still have an abundance of sanitary packages remaining which we plan to distribute to a second school. Indeed, we are still open to collections of sanitary pads to add to our bundle.
In addition to distributing sanitary pads, we used this opportunity to educate young women about their menstruation period and the importance of disposing of their sanitary pads correctly. We held a presentation on menstruation periods in the form of a talk and games – which was fun for the girls and for us! We were surprised to find that some of the young girls did not know about the importance of their menstruation cycle and I am glad that they are now better-informed. Women’s Month reminds us that we should embrace our womanhood and be proud of our bodies.
We were delighted to see how appreciative the girl learners of ZibukeZulu High School were and we took the opportunity to speak to the learner students about putting career goals in place and the pivotal role that education has in our lives. The learners were left motivated and had many questions and thoughts that they shared with us. The number of smiles and hugs I received is the best part of the initiative. We are making a difference, and I am glad I could do it as part of UNICEF!