Maropeng assists young girls at Maloney's Eye Primary School
More than two million South African girls miss five days of school on average every month because they cannot afford sanitary products. It's a sobering statistic, that is often not talked about.
It's a reality that must change, and so, with this in mind Magel van de Venter, Maropeng’s education and marketing executive, went in search of an organisation that would be prepared to help ensure that girls at Maloney's Eye Primary School, would not have to sacrifice school days during menstruation.
After an exhaustive search, she discovered an organisation called Dignity Dreams which deals with that very issue. The group raises money to provides girls with reusable sanitary towels.
Earlier this month Magel and Sandra Millar of Dignity Dreams visited the school to hand over bags containing sanitary towels and underwear to 33 girls in grades six and seven. Magel says being able to help the girls has been an amazing experience.
Sandra says Dignity Dreams says they run a holistic programme so that girls don't just receive the much needed supplies, but also gain knowledge from the interaction. She says such initiatives can dramatically improve a young woman's quality of life.
"Many times girls are forced to use socks, towels and tissues because they don't have money for pads," says Sandra. She says that when they go to a school they bring along social workers from Childline and child welfare who are able to provide some education girls about entering womanhood.
In 2014 Dignity Dreams handed out 7 335 packs to girls across the country, and this year they are hoping to hand out 12 000. The fabric and cotton pads are reusable, so the girls are taught how to wash and care for them. They last between three to five years and each pack costs about R140 each.
Says Magel, "The girls can wash and wear the pads for five years and they are environmentally friendly as less of them [end up in] in landfill sites."
Maropeng has a special relationship with the rural school, which is close to the Maropeng Visitor Centre, and over the years Magel has worked hard to help ensure that pupils have decent facilities, a hot daily meal and jungle gyms to play on.