Menstrual hygiene education must be on the priority list of every school to avoid the increasing school dropouts due to period poverty, said Deensia Swartbooi, Mariental Rural constituency councillor.
Swartbooi was addressing learners at the P.I Groenewaldt Secondary School in Gochas during a handover ceremony of 128 sanitary pads donated by her office to girls at the school earlier this week.
The councillor urged Life Skills teachers at schools to ensure the topic of menstrual hygiene is covered at usual intervals.
She added her office will ensure learners attend school without the constraints or hindrance due to a biological phenomenon, which is a natural part of life.
“We want girls to reach their fullest potential and compete with boy learners on an equal footing so that women can finally and maximally occupy boardrooms of companies, government institutions and other sectors of society and be part of building a truly diverse and non-sexist society – and be leaders in their own right,” she said.
“If sanitary pads are made available to schoolgirls, that would have an impact in the academic progress of girl learners, in particular at school, while boys would progress without hindrance – and that would perpetuate the prevailing feature of an unequal society,” she added.
Swartbooi also pledged to be part of initiatives to ensure schoolgirls in her constituency prosper.
The school’s principal, Jacqueline Witbooi, said the donation will restore the dignity and self-esteem of girls at her school, adding that the event symbolises the efforts to protect and promote the interests of the girl child.
“We are taking the wellbeing of the girl child particularly seriously and to help needy girls to go to school without worrying about their monthly cycle,” Witbooi said while expressing her appreciation for the gesture.