Pupils of Bhekuximba High School, KwaZulu-Natal, chanted songs of gratitude when students from the Midlands Centre of the Durban University of Technology delivered sanitary pads in a project primarily aimed at keeping female students in school as there has been evidence that monthly menstrual cycles keep many poor female pupils away from school as they cannot afford to buy the items (sanitary pads).
A total of 320 pupils from grades eight to 11 at the Etafuleni, Pietermaritzburg, based school received the sanitary pads which were collected during the recently launched campaign. The campaign was initiated by four Indumiso Campus students in a partnership with the DUT Midlands Student Representative Council.
Nkosinathi Phungula, former DUT SRC Deputy President 2014/15; Siphiwe Vilakazi, Nokuphiwa Dladla and Snenhlanhla Nyaniso, DUT SRC Social Welfare Officer, conceptualised the “collect and donate” pads drive after conducting surveys at the DUT Midlands Centre as well as schools surrounding the campuses where they established, through their findings, that many young women missed a number of school-days per month as a result of menstruation and often some resorted to using unhygienic objects during their menstruation cycle.
“We are so grateful to our peers at DUT,” said Zoleka Dlamini, a grade 11 pupil at the school. “May they be richly blessed and I hope that one day I will be able to do for others as they have done for us. We are really grateful; not just for the pads, but even the talks they gave us,” she said.
The pupils were also given career guidance advise by DUT’s Career Resources Officer, Sibongile Bulose, while Nyaniso, Phungula, Dladla, Vilakazi addressed them (pupils) about challenges faced by tertiary students and the importance of education. Nyaniso and Lungile Ngcobo (Miss DUT) further spoke to female pupils about the importance of self-respect, confidence and created awareness about the “blesser” and “sugar daddy” crisis.
Thanda Nelani, a teacher at the school, also expressed her gratitude. “We are humbled as Bhekuximba High School to have such young committed students selflessly reaching out to our pupils. Many of our pupils would miss school because it was that time of the month. What DUT might see as a small gesture means so much to us. We wish these young ambassadors the very best in their lives and DUT should be very proud to produce such amazing students,” she said.
The students are still urging anyone, even external stakeholders who are keen to further donate sanitary pads, to contact (031) 373 8836 or Nkosinathi Phungula on 071 8187448 or Snenhlanhla Nyaniso on 060 376 3403. Sanitary pads can also be dropped off at the SRC PMB offices.
– Noxolo Memela
Pictured: Fine times: Nkosinathi Phungula with pupils from Bhekuximba High School.