Dozens of schoolgirls from Batlhaping High School in Taung were grateful after receiving “love packs” from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The packs contained sanitary towels meant for girls from impoverished families.
One of the recipients, Boipelo Moshweu, 18, from Mokassa 2 village, said: “We welcome the donation because some of us come from deprived backgrounds.
“Our parents cannot afford to buy sanitary towels for us and we end up using cloths and tissues. That affects one’s confidence and we cannot concentrate in class.”
Grade 12 pupil Modisang Mangwegape, 20, said: “I stay with my grandparents and siblings. Life is hard because no one is working at home. We heavily rely on our granny’s pension money.
“However, the money is not enough to support all of us. Having sanitary towels will help me concentrate on my schoolwork without worrying about menstruation.
“I think the packets I received will last me for three months.”
Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang said no girl should miss classes during their menstrual cycle because of a lack of sanitary towels.
“The foundation aims to create, establish, protect and preserve a centre of memory around Nelson Mandela.
“We also aim to convene dialogue around critical social issues, including particular issues regarding human rights and democracy, in order to contribute to a just society,” Hatang said.
“We saw the need for young females, particularly in rural areas, to have access to sanitary towels. A lack of sanitary towels makes it impossible for young girls to go to school.
“We took it upon ourselves to ensure that we donate sanitary towels to them. The aim of the foundation is to assist 2 million schoolgirls by 2020.
“We donated sanitary towels to 480 girls at Batlhaping High School and we hope the donation will last them for a year. As the foundation, we also urge other stakeholders to play a fundamental role in assisting those who are destitute.”
He said if girls were left to miss school because of a lack of support in getting sanitary towels, the country ran the risk of developing an illiterate society.
“We cannot have young people with no future, hence we call all stakeholders to play their part,” Hatang said.
“Nelson Mandela was clear on his mission of what he was willing to die for back in 1962.
“However, it hurts to walk around today and see young people with nothing to die for.
“It is not the government’s role alone to provide for the needy. Mandela believed that education is the hub of developing any community and the future lies right there.
“We have partnered with the Department of Education across the country.
The foundation also has schools that it is working within Klerksdorp, Rustenburg and Taung.
“We visited Mahikeng recently and donated sanitary towels there too. The project is reaching each and every corner in South Africa.” Batlhaping High School teacher and liaison officer Isak Bessie welcomed the donation.
Bessie commended the foundation and said the sanitary towels would ensure that girls stayed in school while menstruating.
“We are grateful that the foundation assisted our deprived girls.
“On behalf of the school management, school governing body and pupils, we want to express our gratitude to them,” Bessie said.
According to research, about 50 days of schooling are lost every year per girl because of a lack of sanitary towels. “Mr Hatang also shared motivational talks with our pupils and urged them to face challenges head-on.”
“Mr Hatang also shared motivational talks with our pupils and urged them to face challenges head-on.”