RUSTENBURG - School-going young girls from underprivileged areas of Rustenburg will no longer have to miss school and will have their dignity restored with the launch of the Lerato le Seriti initiative.
Lerato le Seriti, which means and love and dignity, is an initiative by the Rustenburg local municipality in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and Standard bank. It would provide relief to 540 girls at 26 different schools.
Through the initiative 26 school will be provided with 1 600 sanitary towels for a period of two years.
"We live in an era where the ideals of self-confidence and hard work are being instilled in the minds of young girls from an early age so that they can thrive and be equal participants in our society and the economy in the future,” municipal manager at Rustenburg local municipality, Nqobile Ngema said.
"However, these very efforts are sabotaged by the reality of poverty where underprivileged families are unable to afford sanitary towels for their daughters.
"Ultimately, this leads to absenteeism which is a threat to their future, loss of self-esteem from the shame of what is happening to them and most importantly the threat to their health due to the methods they resort to circumvent the problem."
Ngema said they wanted to grow the initiative to address problems faced by young girls and young boys. "The vision that I ultimately have for this programme is (for it) to grow into something bigger.
"We want to start with the basics, which is to allow young girls to attend school even when they are going through that difficult time that we all face as women during the month.
"It is very unfortunate that in a society where education has became the backbone for tomorrow's success we still have young women who remain at home for a couple of days because of a natural cycle of life."
Ngema said the municipality was committed to providing all communities with a high-quality life and investing in the future of young women by ensuring their education was not disrupted was important.
"We are grateful to be able to partner with the Department of Basic Education and like-minded private sector corporate such as Standard Bank where we can make a bigger impact in our communities.
"We trust that by alleviating the burden of accessing sanitary towels on our girls, we have a better shot of carving future female leaders of our country," she said.
She told young girls that their background should not determined their destiny. "Do not succumb to peer pressure. Be proud of where you come from. Don't pay attention to what you don't have but what you can have in the future."
According to various reports, South African girls can miss up to 50 days of school per year, due to lack of access to sanitary wear.
African News Agency (ANA)