Thanks to a generous donation by Sasol’s Sasolburg and Ekandustria Operations, at least 900 girl learners will be able to stay in school for the next year.
The R216 000 donation is part of its 'Keep a Girl in School' initiative and will also provide information about menstrual health as a way of empowering them for the next phase of their lives.
Other than the stigma that is faced by young women as a result of having their period, it is an uncomfortable truth that young girls must also deal with a lack of menstrual pads on a monthly basis. Previous studies show that an estimated 30% of South African girls do not attend school while they are on their period because they do not have sanitary products. Sasol recognises that this has far reaching social, economic and mental consequences for affected girls, and the company is proud to play its part in minimising the impact and restoring their right to dignity.
"As Sasol, we have been extensively involved in ‘Keep a Girl in School’ initiatives in many of our fenceline communities over the years; however, this is the first time we are extending the project to the communities around our Ekandustria Operations," said Thuli Mbuli, the Head of Community Affairs for Sasolburg and Ekandustria Operations at Sasol.
"The investment in society is borne out of recognition of the important and symbiotic relationship have with communities and society at large, that is why we worked with partners to identify the most vulnerable learners to benefit from this initiative," she said.
Furthermore, Sasol’s continued commitment in the investment of future generations also extends to its long-standing ‘Winter Warm’ initiative. "Our societies are going through challenging times and there are other reasons why learners miss school such as a lack of school shoes, especially in winter. As a company we are therefore committing to donate 720 new pairs of school shoes to children in all schools in our direct fence line communities valued at R200 000 – because we are determined to keep our children in school," Mbuli said.
According to recent studies, children in South Africa are amongst 7 million pupils in Africa who attend school either barefoot or without proper footwear, risking injury and infection. Over the past few years, South African winters have become colder, Sasol’s Sasolburg and Ekandustria Operations is providing the shoes to assist the learners to face the hardship of winter and restore their self-esteem.
"Our interventions in education are driven by a need to see a meaningful change in our youth and prepare them for a future which will enable them to be economically sustainable, Mbuli said.