Sanitary pads to be provided to poor EC pupils

Social development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi
Social development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi
Image: FILE

The Eastern Cape department of social development has announced that R22.8m will be allocated for the provision of sanitary pads to thousands of poor pupils in the province.

The announcement by social development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi in the provincial legislature on Thursday was met with rapturous applause.

Mani-Lusithi said: “The department of social development in partnership with the departments of education & health will intensify the sanitary dignity programme to female learners in grade 4 to grade 12 in quintile 1 schools in an effort to ensure that school-going young girls’ dignity in not diminished.

“Research studies conducted in SA schools suggest that one in three girls misses approximately four days of school a month, as indigent girls cannot afford sanitary products, especially in rural areas, during their menstrual cycle. This results in an inability to complete classes, low self-esteem and illiteracy, lack of skills and eventual unemployment. They are thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty amongst women, especially in rural areas.”

The department has also increased the monthly rate for each child living in child and youth care centres from R2,000 to R4,000, making the total budget allocated for the programme R69.9m.

Mani-Lusithi said her department would also accelerate programmes to empower 5,655 Eastern Cape women with critical skills and information to enable them to contribute in their own development, families and communities.

“In addition, 33 women development livelihood initiatives or co-operatives across the province will be supported financially and through skills training,” she said.