Girls Don’t Need to Miss School: Nokubonga's Story

“In my house, there are eight girls who are now menstruating and then there is my mother as well. It is very expensive for my family. When we cannot afford pads, I stay home and miss school.This upset me very much because, even though my friends bring my homework to me, I still struggle to catch up. My mother has a big heart taking care of all of us. In rural KwaZulu-Natal. My dad works part-time when he finds work but my mother has not been able to find work for some time now.We live off social grants mostly, but this is not enough to cover food, school and toiletries.” - Nokubonga's (16) - 

In 2016, we undertook a pilot project that distributed reusable sanitary towels to underprivileged girls in Umzinto, a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal.The project was aimed at reducing school girl absenteeism.

“The pads made a big difference, it meant that I could stay in school and not miss lessons. I want to do well in school so that I could become a paramedic one day.”

Since piloting the project, we have advocated for the free distribution of sanitary towels in no-fee public schools. Together with our advocacy efforts and recommendations by other stakeholders, government’s provincial department of education announced that they will scale up the programme to make sanitary towels available to young girls in 2,992 schools across the province. 

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