This is a follow-up to a blog written six months ago titled, “Period, End of a Sentence.” Keeping Girls in School is part 4 of the Global Citizen series and includes celebrity activists Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Gayle King and sponsors National Geographic and Proctor and Gamble.
Part 4 focuses on South Africa and getting the government to recognize and commit to keeping girls in school, by providing the funds needed. Proctor and Gamble has provided an education team traveling to schools throughout the country, and beyond, to help take the stigma out of a natural occurring event. Both boys and girls are being taught about hygiene and empowerment. Another huge obstacle is sanitation and by empowering the community schools, problem solving is bringing solutions both there and in their homes.
This is a problem not just where you imagine, but right here at home. When there is barely enough to buy food and pay rent, the needs of girls is overlooked. And this is why so many miss school, as reported by administrators. In many school districts, counselors have found donors to provide sanitary products to girls in need so that they can stay in school, so they can participate in sports, so they can feel normal. Even if you are aware of the enormity of this problem for girls, I hope this may have you asking at your local school district on their policies. Keeping girls in school is the first defense to their oppression.
The entire program kept circling around the South African Leader who was not committing, even with an overwhelming turnout at the Global Citizen Concert that did raise millions in funds. But just before being introduce by Oprah and with the pressure mounting, President Cyril Ramaphosa did announce a commitment of $139 million in US dollars. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni ended the tax on menstrual health products once and for all — with the tax end coming into effect on April 1, 2019 — and promised to ensure that free sanitary pads would also be distributed in public schools to students who need them; getting resources has still been problematic, however. Some of the funds will be used to replace pit latrines in 2400 schools.
In between, the show featured the work being done in the schools and in the communities. It showed the excitement in young eyes that saw a future through education. These young women are being trained as community resource advocates, and finally finishing their education, cut short years ago. Something most developed countries take for granted doesn’t feel good when you learn this, even in our own backyards. This is where respect and humanity meet in bringing the world together.
Check within your own communities. Using our community social media page, I was delighted to learn that our regional schools have provisions. I encourage all to reach out to their family and friends in other regions and get them involved. This is a project students anywhere can do to make a difference and feel good in the process. Bringing hope and building strong women!