DIGNITY: Pupils and the pads they received from Old Mutual.

Johannesburg - South African schoolgirls are one step closer to not having to infringe their dignity when they have their periods.

The Old Mutual Foundation is donating R150 000 to the Imbumba Foundation’s Caring4Girls programme that aims at keeping girls in school when they have their periods.

Caring4Girls provides dignity for schoolgirls in townships and rural schools.

The Imbumba Foundation has also hosted the Trek4Mandela expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro since 2012.

The expedition to the highest peak in Africa raises awareness of the tough challenges faced by underprivileged girls during their periods and raises funds for them.

This year, 22 people went to the mountain in Tanzania to raise funds for the schoolchildren.

The climbers included Letshego Zulu, whose husband, Gugu, died during the 2016 expedition.

“In South Africa, girls and young women who can’t afford or access basic feminine products, are often stigmatised and unable to attend school during their periods.

“These dignity packs give them the opportunity to get an uninterrupted education, which in turn enables them to empower themselves and improve the lives of their families for many years to come,” said Millicent Maroga, head of the Old Mutual Foundation.

Thanks to the cash injection, pupils from schools supported by Old Mutual through the Old Mutual Education Flagship programme will be provided with dignity packs.

Through this partnership with the Caring4Girls programme, Old Mutual will supply 317 primary school girls and 2323 high school girls from the Greater Sekhukhune area in Limpopo with sanitary towels for six months.

“The Caring4Girls programme has to date distributed more than 130 000 packs of sanitary pads and already improved the lives of more than 10000 girls.

“Through these initiatives, we can ensure girls are able to go to school and obtain an education,” concluded Maroga.

The Star