WINDHOEK, March 28 (Xinhua) — A group of young Namibians of diverse professional background are changing the lives of poor and vulnerable girls in the informal settlements in the capital Windhoek and marginalized villages of the country by donating sanitary pads to assist them to stay in school during the menstrual cycle.
The group of 13 young women, from both university and professional setups and five men which calls themselves Keeping the Girl Child in School Namibia, has in the past three weeks sourced and donated more than 3,000 sanitary pads to young disadvantaged girls from ten schools in and around Windhoek’s high density areas and informal settlements.
Leader of the group Julia Heita told Xinhua that they are also working with musicians including the award-winning Namibian artists Mushe and Top Cheri in their quest to change the plight of poor young girls.
Heita said they were motivated to source the sanitary wear from well-wishers after discovering that many young Namibians with a disadvantaged background are forced to skip school during their menstrual cycle and are sometimes forced to use unhygienic sources including cut cloth, blanket pieces as well as leaves as sanitary wear as they cannot afford sanitary wear.
“We have donated over 2,490 sanitary pads to 10 different schools in Windhoek and 650 to three informal settlements. There are so many challenges that can cause a girl child to disengage academically, one of these challenges include menstruation poverty, “she said.
” Every now and then one would read headlines in the newspapers about how girls don’t go to school when they get their period not only because they can’t afford sanitary pads, but also because they are ashamed of their period and because other learners will tease/laugh at them,” she said.
The Keeping the Girl Child in School Namibia group leader also said that they started the project not only to donate towards worthy cause but also to educate Namibia at large about menstrual poverty.
“We also aimed at educating man and letting them know the role they play when it comes to menstruation, this man have mothers, sisters, aunties and daughters as well and we aim to make them understand what periods are,” she said.
The group has also managed to receive the support of the Namibian government which has effected zero value added tax on all sanitary wear in the country to assist the poor to access them.
The motion to zero-rated value added tax on sanitary wear was proposed in parliament by Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi and has received overwhelming support across the political and social devise.
Popular Namibian Musician Top has also taken up the challenge for the group to motivate Namibians to donate sanitary wear to the group on her social media platforms. Enditem