Namibia: Project to Collect Sanitary Pads for Rural Girls

TWO young women have embarked on a project to collect sanitary pads for rural girls in the Erongo region, named #BeingTheWomenWeNeededAsGirls.

Tuzera Jeomba and Undjizuva Ukarerani will collect the sanitary pads through donations from willing citizens, including soap and facecloths, which will then be donated to needy schoolgirls in rural parts of the Erongo region.

The first beneficiaries of the project will be the pupils at the Spitzkoppe Primary School on a date yet to be announced.

According to Jeomba, young girls often miss school due to the unavailability of sanitary pads, and therefore receive a different standard of education compared to their male counterparts.

"They might drop out of school when they reach puberty, which is a concern to us" Jeomba told The Namibian recently.

The 24-year-old Jeomba said the greatest injustice communities commit against young women is by teaching them to be ashamed of their sexuality and anything that comes along with that, such as menstruation.

She added that sanitary pads should be made freely available to young adults, just as condoms are.

The #BeingTheWomenWeNeededAsGirls' project founders believe that it should not be seen as a taboo to purchase sanitary towels at a local shop without it being wrapped tight in newspapers, as if to conceal it.

"She is not crippled because she is menstruating, neither pregnant. Those schoolgirls should enjoy school life, and take part in activities unhindered by a lack of sanitary pads," Jeomba added.

Schools which will benefit from the project are chosen based on their needs, and since Jeomba previously worked for the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, she is well acquainted with schools which are in need. The schools which benefit must also ensure that schoolgirls have proper access to healthcare facilities.

#BeingTheWomenWeNeededAsGirls' furthermore plans to hold sex education discussions in rural communities, where issues of gender-based violence (GBV), women's empowerment and the fight for gender equality in Namibia will feature.

Ukarerani, said the idea of the project was birthed after a couple of friends reflected on their high school days and struggles with menstruation that they had to endure during the month.

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