Women’s Month: Lack of sanitary pads keeps girls out of school

Seven million girls miss school every month because of lack of access to sanitary pads. Girls who cannot afford pads or tampons miss approximately five days of school a month, which amounts to 60 missed school days a year.

While there are a few NGOs focused on fixing this problem, there is still much to be done. Caxton Digital raised funds to buy sanitary pads and body hygiene products for girls at Lofentse Girl School.

Students from the girls school with sanitary packages.

Students from the girls school with sanitary packages.

During their visit at the school, they spoke to both students and teachers who highlighted the issue in their community.

“Girls do miss their school days because of their period and it’s because most of them cannot afford to buy sanitary pads,” said Ms Dudu Masinga, one of the teachers at the school.

“Most of them are from the Orlando community, which is a very poor community, this does affect their general development at school because them staying at home means that they miss out on so many days of school while their peers continue to learn.”

One of the young women at the school said that she uses newspapers or cloths as an alternative to pads.

While this issue doesn’t affect every girl at the school, it certainly is noticeable amongst peers who see their friends miss school because of lack of sanitary pads. Thando Dlamini, a pupil at the school says she has seen some of her classmates miss school because of their period. “I’ve had instances where people ask me for pads and I didn’t have and when I said go ask at the office, they were afraid to ask,” she says.

Needless to say, education goes hand in hand with access to proper sanitary pads and hygiene solutions for young girls across the country.

“Education is very important, mostly to women. We know women are undermined everywhere, they are the ones who struggle, young girls struggle to raise their babies and then there is the struggle to get sanitary pads,” says Ms Masinga.

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