SUPPORTING YOUNG GIRL’S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Somerset East, Eastern Cape Province
To provide free sanitary products to thousands of young girl learners each month, outlying Eastern Cape schools are benefiting from a programme, aimed to end period-poverty through the installation of Sanitary Pad Vending Machines. Funded by Cookhouse Wind Farm in collaboration with the MENstruation Foundation, this initiative supports female learners across eight local schools by giving them access to free essential sanitary products, with the installation of these devices.
These compact machines do not use electricity and work on a simple rotation system. Whats more, the sanitary towels are also locally manufactured and compostable.
“This initiative has assisted our learners greatly and you can sense that their dignity has been restored. It has also improved our learners’ attendance where some of them did not attend school due to not having sanitary towels,” said Mr J Snyers, Principal of Aeroville Senior Secondary School, in Somerset East.
As part of the programme, sanitary pad vending machines have been placed at the beneficiary schools, where they will be stocked up monthly to ensure sufficient supply to cater to the needs of more than 2 000 girl learners, throughout the year. Tokens to access the pads are provided to the schools, at no cost.
“The vending machine also provides a private and convenient way for learners to access sanitary products, allowing them to focus on their education without worrying about the discomfort and potential embarrassment that can arise from a lack of access to these essential items,” added Snyers.
By supporting equal access to education, the initiative also aims to reduce the stress caused by monthly cycles. Furthermore, young girls in the community also received support in the form of an educational talk on feminine hygiene and menstruation.
“Our objective is to support socio-economic development initiatives, such as this one, that address the immediate needs of the community and are in line with the wind farm’s project goals and mission as a caring organisation seeking to leave a legacy of sustainable development in communities where we operate,” explained Shariefa Rhoda, Communities Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.