By Alice Paulse
Consider this one step forward for periods without shame, finally!
This awesome initiative could make a huge difference in the lives’ of young girls. Here is why we are applauding…
Sanitary towels are back in the spotlight once again but this time it’s for a good reason. A government programme initiated by the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Department of Education to provide free sanitary pads for impoverished schoolgirls has kicked off.
Why Free Sanitary Pads?
Sadly, studies have found that many girls drop out of school altogether once they begin menstruating. Young women miss 20% of school days in a given year due to a lack of facilities or lack of sanitary products.
READ MORE: Are Some Periods Worse Than Others?
This project will provide sanitary pads to indigent girls in selected schools in grade 4-12. Hopefully we will see it reduce the drop-out rate of learners, caused by missing out on school, as the price of sanitary pads are not cheap.
One in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school at some point during their periods, and let’s not forget the health implications and humiliation of using unsanitary methods to pads or tampons. Using newspaper, a old sock filled with sand or cotton wool.
The first batch of sanitary pads will be distributed to 2, 992 schools this month, each schoolgirl will receive a pack of pads from a school official every month.
Dropping the VAT on Sanitary Pads
Back in 2016, dropping VAT on sanitary pads was on the agenda during a Parliament sitting. MP’s wanted the government to provide free and universal access to sanitary towels to poor women.
They also criticized the general high price of sanitary towels, stating that it was about time that the Department of Trade and Industry introduced zero VAT rating on such products and they also called for South Africa to lead in the fall of the so-called “pink tax”. However, since then the government remained tight-lipped. We hope that other educational departments take note of this cool initiative and follow suit.
Looking for more info on your flow? Here are six of the most common period myths we really need to stop believing.