Share this article
Across South Africa, thousands of girls miss as many as five days of school a month because of a lack of access to sanitary pads during their periods. In some cases, they even drop out of school altogether.
Studies have shown that keeping girls in school is important, not only for them, but for the community as a whole. Girls who finish secondary school are less likely face domestic abuse or suffer from long-term health complications. Educated women and girls are likely to have fewer, healthier children who in turn, are more likely to get an education and pull themselves out of poverty.
As one of the most famous women in the world, Michelle Obama, put it: “Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.”
As part of its commitment to women in South Africa, grocery giant SPAR has become involved in distributing sanitary towels. Three brand ambassadors – SPAR Grand Prix winners Rene Kalmer and Kesa Molotsane and SPAR Proteas netball captain Bongi Msomi – have been given 12 000 packets of SPAR Petals sanitary pads to deliver to girls and women in need.
Molotsane, who is based in Bloemfontein, distributed sanitary pads at Ereskuld Primary School in Thaba ‘Nchu, where she spoke to Grade Seven girls about the importance of hygiene, particularly during menstruation. She also handed out products at the Mothers’ Lounge unit at the Universitas Academic Hospital and at the Universitas Maternity Clinic. The Mothers’ Lounge is where new mothers stay while their new-born babies are being treated.
“I strongly believe every child deserves to be in school without any interruption,” said Molotsane.
“I am glad to be able to contribute to their future by keeping them in school when some of them might give up because of the lack of hygiene essentials during their periods.
“I also advocate for women in general having access to hygiene essentials. I am very grateful to SPAR for their support in this regard.”
Kalmer and Msomi will be distributing a year’s supply of SPAR Petals sanitary pads to girls and young women in the community projects in which they are involved.
“I have been very fortunate to play the role of mentor and mom for 50 athletes from the Vorentoe Running Academy for the past five years. The athletes are mostly recruited from rural and disadvantaged areas north of the Vaal,” said Kalmer.
“I am truly grateful to SPAR and their suppliers for taking care of the girls’ menstrual health by donating sanitary pads for the year. With their monthly insecurities taken care of, the girls can now confidently focus on their education and training,” she said.