Windhoek — No Namibian girl-child should stay away from school because of the lack of sanitary necessities.
This is the spirit in which employees of Standard Bank's northern branches and agencies recently donated toiletries and a number of sanitary items to over 300 disadvantaged schoolgirls at Oshikunde Combined School in the Okongo Constituency of Ohangwena Region.
The donation to the value of N$12,000 was handed over as part of the bank's northwest region social project, called 'Keeping the Namibian Girl in School'.
The parcels donated to the girls included not only sanitary towels, but also bars of soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion, washing powder, as well as shoes.
"After a visit to the rural school on our way to Okongo we made a stopover there upon request from the principal. It was then that we noticed that nine of the girls were absent from school that particular day.
"Upon enquiry we were informed that the main reason is that most of them live in remote areas" and the lackof toiletries, especially for the girls, discouraged them from attending school.
"This prompted us to take action as northern bankers to help out in our own small way.
"In Africa we believe that your neighbour's children are your own and as a community we need to share with others," said Ismael Hakaaje, Standard Bank's northwest regional manager.
On average about 11 girls stay out of class per month due to their monthly menstrual cycles and the lack of sanitary pads and lack of know-how.
Having become aware of the situation, the bank workers then decided to take action by encouraging their colleagues in other branches and agencies to voluntarily donate sanitary goods to the schoolgirls.
Principal Hoster Simasiku was very grateful for the kind gesture.
"I am honoured and privileged to be receiving such a generous donation from Standard Bank. I am also happy to see the extent to which the staff care for our schoolgirls and I encourage other institutions to follow this good example. You changed many lives and made a positive impact on the girls," he said.
With 18 teachers, Oshikunde Combined School currently accommodates 633 children, of whom 360 are girls, with the majority coming from disadvantaged families.