It is estimated that close to seven million young girls in South Africa miss approximately two months of schooling per year due to not being able to afford sanitary pads.
On Thursday, 3 November 2016, the Institutional Office for HIV and AIDS (IOHA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will launch the One Million Pads Campaign aiming to raise funding for one million sanitary towels for female students nationwide. UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg and stakeholders will sign a pledge as a symbol of commitment towards the initiative.
The #OneMillionPadsCampaign is led by 26-year-old Project Management student, Thabiso Majavu, who realised that a number of students coming from previously disadvantaged families cannot afford basic toiletries especially sanitary pads. He then embarked on collecting sanitary towels for about 5000 young girls last year. “I started to ask UJ students to donate sanitary towels, so that I could deliver them to schools in the rural areas where we had started to do outreach programmes. I was shocked that even UJ students could not afford to buy them,” he says.
The project expanded to distribute to young girls in primary and high schools, orphanages and universities.
Majavu admits to getting embarrassed at buying sanitary towels at first. Now he is on a mission to address stigmas related to female health issues amongst his male peers with educational talks targeted at males. “There is nothing wrong about being a guy and buying pads,” he says.
Individuals and stakeholders are requested to bring sanitary pads in support of the event. Implementation will be from February – March 2017.
The One Million Pads campaign is a partnership between various institutional support services within the University of Johannesburg and external stakeholders. These partnerships play a crucial role in protecting and creating an environment that seeks to effect positive change in the lives of women.
The launch of the campaign will be on the Thursday, 3 of November 2016 at the STH Building, Auckland Park Bunting Road campus.
Questions regarding the event should be directed to IOHA HIV Coordinator: Mrs Sibongile Mdletshe on 011 559 2966/ firstname.lastname@example.org.