A couple of weeks ago, I got my period for the first time in over a year. I was at work when I started feeling crampy and run down – the telltale signs of it. Not completely sure if my period was back or not, I went to check. And yup, there she was. Before I got pregnant, I carried a little “Period Pack” with me when Aunt Flow (hehe) was coming to town. It had all of my essentials: tampons, pantyliners and pain killers. But this time, I had nothing with me. I’m still breastfeeding so the whole thing took me by surprise. I quickly popped over to my local Dischem and re-stacked my period pack as well as my desk drawer with essentials. I realise I’m actually so lucky and privileged that I could easily do such a thing without even batting an eyelid.
When I first heard that thousands of African girls miss an average of 20% of the school year because of their period, I was shocked, sad and actually pretty angry. I didn’t even understand how this was happening. Unfortunately, in many cultures, menstruation is still seen as something you don’t talk about. So, many girls who are going through puberty don’t even know what puberty is then have no idea what’s actually happening to them when they have their periods. Many feel ashamed, not knowing how normal and natural it is. And even if they did, many can’t actually afford sanitary pads. To make things worse, they also go to schools that don’t have clean toilets or areas to practice sanitary hygiene.
Buy 1 pack of Stayfree and keep a girl in school for one more day
Stayfree has been doing something amazing, by partnering with major retailers in South Africa to provide South African girls with pads and educating them on menstrual hygiene. Last year, their #StayfreetoLearn schools program educated more than 600,000 school girls on mentrual hygiene and puberty. Their aim is to provide girls with 2 million pads in 2017. Through the partnership with the Small Project Foundation’s Bright Futures program, thousands of young girls are learning what’s happening to their bodies, how to take care of themselves and toilets are being maintained to create a safe place for them. For every Stayfree pack of pads you buy, Stayfree donates one to a schoolgirl to help keep her in school for one more day.
Many of us always want to do something to help others, but don’t know where to start. This is such an easy and simple way of making a difference in not just a young girl’s life, but also society at large. So, please, when you get your toiletries this month, please choose to buy a pack (or two, or three) of Stayfree pads. Make sure to look out for the yellow sticker on the pack to know for sure that your purchase is contributing to this initiative. By doing so, you’ll be helping to keep a girl in school for another day. You can buy your pack at any of these major retailers: Dischem, Clicks and Pick n Pay.
Buying a pack of Stayfree is a great start. If you’d like to do more, you can also donate directly to the Small Project Foundation’s Bright Futures program. And of course, directly donate pads to underprivileged schools and communities. The more educated our girls are, the brighter our future will be. No girl should have to miss school because of her period. Access to basic menstrual hygiene is a right. It’s something we take for granted everyday.
*This post was brought to you by Stayfree