WINDHOEK - The Drop a Pad campaign, the brainchild of a Grade 7 learner Sherry Muchaka, last week donated more than 500 sanitary pads to four schools in the Otjozondjupa Region in her quest to keep the girl-child in school.
Gracious Mushabati, Sherry’s mother who spoke to New Era on her behalf, said the initiative is tailored for children, especially young girls, who require information, guidance and protection from the consequences of poorly managed adolescence. She noted the onset of puberty results in significant changes in school participation of girls.
“Menstruation. which is the most dramatic sign of a girl’s puberty, affects a girl’s socialization with family and community and may have a significant impact on their education,” explained Sherry’s mother.
Traditionally, menstruation is too often regarded as a taboo with many myths, misconceptions and negative culture attitudes associated with it.
Sometimes women and girls are wrongly considered to be contaminated, dirty or impure. To this effect, Gracious said, “girls suffer stigma due to inadequate preparation of young girls approaching puberty”.
She said there is a “lack of water to wash up, lack of pads (washable and re-usable cloth pads) to manage menstrual hygiene, and the absence of private space and washrooms continues to haunt young girls in schools”.
In her statement Sherry, who is currently the head girl at Kalenga English Primary School, said by bringing menstruation out into the open “you are letting others know that it is okay to talk about it”.
“Youngsters should not just hear about the body’s functions in biology classes,” said the seventh grader. Additionally, she concurred that menstruation shaming is common not only in Namibia but across the world.
Sherry noted that some girls miss classes during their menstruation periods due to the fact that they cannot afford to buy pads in order to protect themselves from being exposed. She further encourages every girl to be proud of this natural gift from God to form part of womanhood, saying “menstruation is an essential part of growing up”.
Therefore, she called on all boys and male teachers in schools to be sensitized and support the girl-child to cope with the challenges that girls face during their monthly menstruation periods. She humbly requested public assistance as she plans on outsourcing school uniforms for the next financial year as a marked beginning to eradicate vulnerability among school learners.
The occasion, which also celebrated the annual international day of the girl-child that promotes girls’ empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights, was officially addressed by Mayor of Grootfontein Absai Haimene on behalf of Regional Governor Otto Iipinge.
The beneficiary schools include orphans and vulnerable schools such as Omulunga Primary School, Makalani Primary School, Wilhelm Nortier Primary School and Shamalindi Primary School located in the farming vicinity of Grootfontein.
Sherry’s Drop a Pad campaign with the help of Palesa Cloth Pads Namibia outsourced the donations from First National Bank, Pick n Pay, NDF Army and Air Force, as well as Pep Store, which all contributed pads worth over N$5 000. Sherry’s dream is for this campaign to continue for more years to come with high hopes that she will herself sponsor a girl-child in future.
These cloth pads are now available in Windhoek. Youngsters are requested to contact Christina Saunderson on 0816073111 for a presentation and demonstration of washable and re-usable cloth pads.
New Era Reporter
2018-10-16 09:25:10 10 months ago