FRANCISTOWN: John Mackenzie Primary School has partnered with the Greater Francistown District Health Management Team (GFDHMT) in running a sanitary pad drive initiative, which is expected to benefit the underprivileged at a local health facility and the broader community.
The initiative seeks to reduce the dropout rate of girl learners caused by missing out on school because they are not able to afford to buy sanitary pads.
John Mackenzie Primary School inhouse counsellor Tumisang Sedimo, told Mmegi that their school and GFDHMT were running a sanitary pad drive in the build up to the Day of the African Child, which is commemorated on June 16. She said that the school has been running an in-house sanitary pad drive since June 3, 2019. Sedimo added that children of all ages and parents have been donating sanitary pads to the school in a special designated box at the school’s reception area.
Sedimo said that JMS was moved by the humiliation and indignity that some students experience and were inspired to start the programme to address when a girl stains her clothes or misses school just because she does not have a sanitary pad to use.
She said that with this year’s theme ‘Children’s rights first’, the school through its counselling department on June 10 held a girls and boys talk respectively. She added that the talk was entitled ‘Are you your sister’s keeper?’, which implored boys to be the protectors of their sisters and girls, providing each other with support during the menstruation cycle.
During the interview, Sedimo highlighted the importance of educating both the boy- and girl-child on matters relating to adolescence. She also spoke about matters pertaining to hygiene, menstrual periods and related hormonal changes, to name a few. She revealed that the school is scheduled to donate the sanitary pads to the Francistown Jubilee Clinic who have identified girls in need and the hand over will be on June 17.
For her part the school’s head personal assistant Bridget Buzwani said that John Mackenzie Primary School always had a white envelop initiative in the school to help students in need of sanitary pads. She said through the initiative they put sanitary pads in the white envelop and when a girl is in her menstrual cycle, she gets the envelop from the guidance and counselling office.
Buzwani indicated that the approach helps the girl-child uphold their dignity and never miss school during their menstrual cycle. She also said that in most cases when students do not have sanitary pads, they end up using a piece of cloth and toilet paper, which is very unhygienic. She concluded by encouraging parents to sensitise their children about menstruation, its effects, and adding that they should also monitor their children’s menstrual cycle, but above all they should give them love so that they can be open with them.