There was a huge sigh of relief among schoolgirls from poor families attending Kaakuwa Combined School in Kavango West on Tuesday when they received donations of sanitary pads and hygiene products from a youth-run organisation.
The learners from Grade 4 up to 8 received sanitary pads and toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, roll-ons, bathing soaps and face wash cloths from an organisation called Nkurenkuru Pad Drive. The organization, run by three Kavango West-based youth, was established a month ago but has already lived up to its aim of assisting other less privileged young people in the region. "Our goal is to assist the young disadvantaged youth of Kavango West, providing them with sanitary products and hygiene products," explained Ileni Shilongo.
"Providing these items to these young girls is a way to keep them in school because we know that a lot of them tend to miss out on school because once they start menstruating they are unable to attend school because they do not have the correct items to keep themselves comfortable," added Shilongo
Receiving the products, learners said they struggle to maintain basic hygiene and at times are forced to miss classes during their menstrual days, as they cannot afford to buy sanitary towels and other necessary toiletries.
"I struggle a lot with my personal hygiene as there is no money and both my parents are unemployed so it is a challenge to get these products. On my menstrual days sometimes I stay home," said one recipient Benedicta Kamati, a Grade 8 learner. Kamati said she is compelled to use traditional herbs despite the fact they are unsafe. "I feel happy because there is nowhere I could get sanitary and hygiene products because my parents are not working, unless I borrow from some of my friends," said Victoria Kamambo also a Grade 8 learner.
Kaakuwa Combined School is situated in the inland some 20 kilometers south of Nkurenkuru.
* Stefanus Nambara is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) stationed in Nkurenkuru.