In the fight against the school drop-out rate for female learners, the Northern Cape Department of Education continued with its sanitary towel campaign for high school learners with an event in Port Nolloth on Women’s Day.
IN THE fight against the school drop-out rate of female learners, the Northern Cape Department of Education continued with its Sanitary Towel Campaign in Port Nolloth on Women’s Day by donating sanitary towels to female high school learners.
Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said research has shown that the biological transition of girls once they hit puberty is often a frightening experience for some.
He said it was against this background that the department decided to make sanitary towels accessible to female learners as many are not only confused about the transition, but also do not have the money to purchase sanitary towels.
“For many girls from impoverished backgrounds the onset of puberty marks a sharp decline in school attendance and could even lead to them dropping out of school completely. One of the reasons for this high drop-out rate is the lack of sanitary protection and lack of knowledge around puberty.
“What should be a celebration of womanhood, becomes a time of shame, embarrassment and stigmatisation for the girls’ education and consequently their future.
“According to research, girls from impoverished backgrounds not only have to deal with loss of learning during their menstruation, but also, in some cases, experience the loss of human dignity due to not having other options but to make use of old newspapers or cloth when menstruating,” Van der Merwe said.
He said the loss of schooling can have long-term effects on girls.
“Young women in Africa have been reported as being absent from school for a period of at least four days per month. This number can total up to 24 weeks out of 144 weeks in a four-year period of high school. In some instances, young girls suffer from stress and depression as a result of fear of staining their clothes,” he said.
Van der Merwe urged the community and private sector to partner with the department in alleviating the plight of young girls.
“Education is a societal matter and the government needs support from all sectors to ensure children are given quality education. The sanitary towel campaign is not just about supplying sanitary towels to young women, but about making a significant life-changing difference. The sanitary towels not only enable girls to attend school regularly, but it eventually ensures better economic exposure to young women,” he concluded.