This one project I was hoping I would never have to do in my life. In 2011, 17 years ater democracy in South Africa, it seems the poor are getting even poorer. Young girls in rural communities are ‘bunking’ school whenever they are on their period because they cannot afford to buy themselves pads. This is almost a 3rd of the girls in the entire high school. I spoke to one of the members of the school’s governing body, he further informed me that the school does not have a telephone… this is 2011?? He also told me that the school is lucky to have toilet paper for the students. What makes this story even more painful is the fact that these kids might not even have toilet paper at home. According to one of the teachers, most of the learners’ parents are unemployed, which means hunger is pravelent. Can we describe this as people who live in dire poverty? Must this situtation escalate into the Somalia crisis before we do anything?
Collect_A_Pad is a small project i started, i collect sanitary pads from anyone and everyone who can donate, then deliver them to the young girls affected at the school. However this solution is not sustainable, far from it infact. I once heard of a project that employs young girls and teaches them how to make renewable pads that they sell to local folk. This is a project that focuses on sustainability, because not only do the girls make these pads for communities but they get them for free themselves and earn an income for the work that they do. Apparentely the Grameen Lab runs a similar project too. I doing some research on this, if this can be introduced in my country, a lot of problems will be addressed.
For now i am collecting pads, i am on 100 so far, i need about 600.. someone’s gotta do it!!