Thousands benefit from Keep a Girl in School NPO
After being approached by a young girl who had started her first menstrual cycle but had no money to buy sanitary products, Buffalo Flats resident Dinika Rooy made it her mission to ensure other young girls did not go through the same thing.
Rooy, 30, founded the “Keep a Girl in School” NPO in 2017 and has since donated more than R15,000 worth of sanitary pads, mainly to Grade 7 girls in nine different schools in her community.
“Being approached by that young girl who was so desperate for sanitary towels just softened my heart.
“I thought of the many other young girls in our community facing similar challenges and not attending school due to these circumstances,” said Rooy, who works in HR full-time at the Buffalo City TVET College.
Rooy said the main aim of Keep a Girl in School was to donate and distribute as many sanitary pads to those in need as possible, as well as ensuring young girls did not miss school.
“School attendance is very important — young girls should not stay away from school because they do not have pads.
“These girls are often embarrassed and ashamed of their situation and miss a lot of school because of it,” said Rooy.
“I want them to be comfortable at school and work to reduce the high absenteeism and dropout rates caused by menstrual related challenges.”
Rooy said one of the most important goals of Keep a Girl in School was also to create menstrual hygiene awareness and educate young girls about their bodies.
“Because of the lack of sanitary towels these girls often use unhygienic methods such as socks, newspaper and toilet paper as substitutes.
“I don’t want young girls to have to go through that,” Rooy said.
Aspiranza Primary, AW Barnes Primary, Cranberry Primary, Lujiza Public Primary, Parkside Primary, Pefferville Primary and Nonthutuzelo Primary Schools are among the schools that have benefited from Rooy’s continued support over the last four years.
AW Barnes parent and School Governing Body member, Michelle Booysen said: “Dinika [Rooy] has really made a difference.
“It is wonderful for the girls to have someone to talk to and to teach them about menstrual hygiene.
“The donations of sanitary towels also go a long way, there is a huge need for Keep a Girl in School.”
From collecting a few packs of sanitary pads from her friends and colleagues to hosting fundraising events, Rooy relies solely on donations.
“Organisations like the Charles Glass Society and Vision Impact Outreach & Missions have really helped me a lot, and my community has stood behind me too.
“I’ve done fundraising events with my friends and family and so many people have been so supportive.
“Vincent Park Mall has also given us the sponsorship of court space to create awareness.
“I only work on what I receive from the community and the events I have and we have been so blessed,” said Rooy.