Sanitary dignity campaign changes schoolgirls' lives

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pretoria – Parents of young girls who attend a special school in Pretoria are happy about an initiative which will restore their daughters’ feminine dignity.

On Saturday, Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams joined forces with the Serithi Campaign to provide menstrual cups to 61 learners at Tshegofatsong Special School in Mamelodi East.

The campaign is aimed at curbing the growing crisis of girls in schools facing absenteeism due to being unequipped for their menstrual cycle. The campaign is now providing girls a sustainable solution – the Mina Menstrual Cup. Girls are able to use the cup and not miss school because of not having sanitary towels.

Gugu Ntuli, who has a 17-year-old daughter, said she is impressed by this initiative.

“It’s very difficult for my daughter when she’s on her period because she’s a slow learner. At times… I need to help her stay clean. I hope the menstrual cup will change that and make her independent,” Ntuli said.

Constance Ramakgapola said her 18-year-old daughter will benefit from this initiative and bring an end to embarrassing accidents.

Serithi Campaign Co-Founder Reatlegile Mosiane said the Mina Cup is designed specifically for South African girls.

The Mina Cup is about the length of a pinkie finger and it is made out of medical grade silicone. Mosiane said it is discreet and easy to use because the cup is comfortable. It can be used for up to eight hours, after which it has to be rinsed out with clean water. It also needs to be sterilised in boiling water for five minutes once a day. The cup lasts up to five years, which is a significant cost saver.

Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said this campaign is close to her heart.

“I also grew up underprivileged. I understand what you go through when you are on your period. You want to go to school but you are on your period - boys will be laughing at you. As a young girl, you don’t want to be uncomfortable as you lose focus,” she said.

Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged young girls to pursue their dreams.

“This is your time. Reclaim your space and show us what you can do. Let’s make sure that we deliver economic freedom in our country, working together,” she said. –