A recent report – ‘Period Poverty: Stigmas add to young girls’ woes’1 estimates that “at least 7 million South African girls don’t have access to basic sanitary products each month”. This results in “an estimated 30% of young girls not attending school during their menstrual cycle”. “Not only is the interruption in our young girls’ schooling each month a cause of great concern but, so too, is the reality of the lack of access to basic female hygiene products experienced by so many of our youth,” says Vusani Malie, CEO, SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT). As part of its commitment to invest in the upliftment of its beneficiary communities – with education and social wellbeing key focus areas, SIOC-CDT has for the last few years been proactively involved in the procurement and distribution of female hygiene products across its beneficiary schools. Since the launch of this programme in 2018, over 25,000 sanitary products have been distributed to almost 5,000 learners across 40+ schools in SIOC-CDT’s beneficiary communities. This year, in partnership with Blossom Care Solutions (a mission-centric social enterprise) has seen the delivery of 5,500+ sanitary products across no fewer than 15 schools. The focus will extend beyond sanitary product delivery only and include education aimed at providing our young women with a greater understanding and knowledge on menstrual health in its entirety. Said education will include normalising monthly menstrual cycles as a natural and necessary part of the female body, busting myths around menstrual cycles being shameful or dirty as well as some tips on how to best care for oneself during your cycle and the management of any period related pain.
“We are excited by our alignment with Blossom Care Solutions,” continues Malie. “This joint collaboration enables us not only to accelerate and strengthen our existing sanitary towel distribution programme, but to augment it with the menstrual health education so desperately needed amongst our young female learners in our beneficiary schools.”
As a mission-critical social enterprise, Blossom Care Solutions is structured in such a way as to ensure that every one of its factories employs locals, especially women, in order to benefit locals through job creation and youth development in addition to combatting period poverty.
Says Shamiela Sarlie, Managing Director, Blossom Care Solutions: “SIOC-CDT is an excellent strategic partner. Its reach across the areas of Northern Cape, the work it does, and the impact achieved over the last years, dovetails perfectly with our vision to reach even more students and amplify our impact.”
The list of this year’s recipient schools, to date, includes – Pako Middle School, K S Shuping High School, Tongwane Middle School, Kopano Middle School, Lesedi High School, Relekile Primary School, Vlakfontein Primary School, Maikaielelo Primary School, Deben Primary School, Sishen Intermediate, Agang Thuto Primary, Ratang Thuto High School, Dwaalboom Primary, Tswelopele Primary School and Northam Comprehensive School.
1 Period poverty: Stigmas add to young girls’ woes – Health-e News
SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT) was established in 2006 by Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC) (Pty) Ltd to invest in the uplifting of the communities in which the mining company operates in the Northern Cape and Limpopo. We invest significantly in community development projects aimed at ensuring sustainability beyond mining operations.
SIOC-CDT has substantiated its stated intention of “defining ourselves through actions, not our words” by investing over R1 billion in socio-economic and community development projects in its beneficiary communities; Gamagara, Tsantsabane, Ga-Segonyana and Joe Morolong in the Northern Cape, as well as Thabazimbi in Limpopo