The Pad Princess Project: giving young girls their dignity back and keeping them in school

Period packs are handed over to schoolgirls. Picture: Supplied

Period packs are handed over to schoolgirls. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 29, 2023


Johannesburg - A Johannesburg charity is on a mission to keep girls in school and prepare them for a bright future through their Pad Princess Project.

The initiative, which is the flagship project of the Kindness Like Confetti organisation, has for the past five years been distributing period products to schoolgirls in the city.

Liza Verburg, the director of the Pad Princess Project, explained to the “Saturday Star” this week that since its inception, the initiative has managed to reach about 40 000 packs of pads.

“Since, 2021, we have stepped it up and distributed 22 000 packs of pads and this year alone we have reached 2 500 girls who are in need of menstrual items.”

Period packs are handed over to schoolgirls. Picture: Supplied.

Verburg said that each period pack consists of a 5-litre bucket, two period panties, three reusable pads, Sunlight soap and vinegar.

The initiative has also recently started distributing eco-friendly and reusable sanitary wear in order for the items to last longer as well as to be more environmentally friendly.

“They can use these reusable period items for up to five years and by doing this, we are able to reach more girls in need.”

Verburg explained that the main objective of the Pad Princess Project is to ensure that girls stay in school.

Period packs are handed over to schoolgirls. Supplied image.

“Some girls are faced with either buying food or sanitary products and others use socks and newspapers to manage their period, so this is our way of giving them their dignity back.”

She added that when they distribute these menstrual products at schools in Johannesburg, the handover also functions as an educational exercise.

“Unfortunately, menstruation is not always spoken about and we even meet 16-year-olds who don’t understand why they menstruate and how their bodies work, so it’s important for us to educate them,” she said.

“We also want to educate and uplift girls because they are our future. We want them to be confident and comfortable and we want to inspire them to support each other.”

Period panties are part of the packs handed over to schoolgirls. Picture: Supplied.

Meanwhile, the period panties are also made by a local non-profit organisation which trains women with vital skills for empowerment and employment.

“We tell the girls during the handover that the products are made with love and that it is there to inspire and empower them.”

And apart from distributing the menstruation products at Joburg schools, Verburg said they are also handed out to other in-need women and girls, such as those at soup kitchens and safe houses.

Recently, the initiative has also started handing out their menstruation packages at special needs schools. Next week, they will distribute them at MCK Special School for the Deaf in Lenasia.

“We ultimately want to empower young girls to stay in school, understand their bodies, make better choices and be the nation’s future leaders,” Verburg said.