In an attempt to end the stigma associated with menstruation and lack of sanitary towels, Boshof Solar Power is funding a programme to keep young girls in the classroom. This socio-economic development programme is driven by the belief that communities won’t be able to thrive if girl-learners are left behind.
Having identified that high school girls were missing up to seven days of school a month, the programme was rolled out across four high schools and three primary schools in Boshof, Hertzogville, and Dealesville, during 2015. The programme now supplies both sanitary towels and the MCup to Grade 11 and 12 learners, who have, in general, been happy to explore the cup option as an alternative.
The South African Human Rights Commission recently reported that the lack of access to sanitary towels not only has adverse effects on our country’s girl’s school attendance but it also has a ripple effect on the economic development of communities. It is not just the girls and women who benefit from having proper menstrual hygiene, the broader society and national economies can profit from better menstruation management.
Despite sanitary towels recently being added to the list of VAT zero-rated goods, the majority of girls in South Africa continue to miss up to five days of school each month, due to lack of access to these essential items. So until government is able to provide free sanitary products to women and girls from poorer communities, the solution will remain in the hands of NGO’s and corporate sponsors such as Boshof Solar Power.