OPUWO – The Pan African Women Organisation (Pawo), in conjunction with the Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC), last week assisted the girl child in the rural areas of Kunene Region by providing sanitary pads and other items to mostly disadvantaged learners at Otjiu Primary School and Musaso Combined School.
The two schools are situated in Opuwo Rural Constituency.
The donation came about after the two schools wrote letters to SPWC secretary Eunice Iipinge, who is also the chairperson of Pawo, through SPWC regional representative for Kunene, Kahimbona Musaso, for any donation to help with the girl child especially in the marginalised communities of Ovatue, Ovatjimba and Ovazemba.
Musaso Combined School benefitted
Four learners of Musaso Combined School from poor backgrounds became beneficiaries of hostel fees, which will be paid fully for 2019. Pawo also donated sanitary pads to 100 girls aged between 13 and 14 years for the duration of April to December 2019.
Other donations were school uniforms (shirts, skirts, socks and shoes), blankets, female underwear, soaps, lotions and deodorants.
Otjiu Primary school benefitted
At Otjiu Primary School, 100 packs of sanitary pads for all the identified girls aged from 13 to 14 years were donated, as well as school uniforms for five girls. Pawo also gave 45 items of underwear to boys and girls as well as cosmetics to 45 boys and girls.
Iipinge emphasised the challenges of a girl child compared to a boy child as very different, elaborating how a girl can miss classes because of her menstruation period if she does not have the required toiletries like sanitary pads.
“Gilrs who cannot afford pads can miss approximately five days of school a month, which amounts to 60 days missed in a year, which can make them disadvantaged in terms of education performance,” Iipinge remarked.
She went on to tell both schools about the aim and objectives of her organisation, Pawo, which is to help the girl child reclaim her dignity and enable them to make a lasting and positive impact in their community.
She also told parents of children at both schools to make sure that some of the practices which are harmful to girls’ education, such as child marriages that are rife in Kunene, are done away with.
“Every girl deserves access to education, access to safe and hygiene sanitary products, and this is the motto of Pawo,” Iipinge concluded.
*Selma Gumbo works for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Opuwo, Kunene Region.