Fish River Hike for Project Dignity
- By: Eunice Van Schalkwyk and Cobus Steenkamp
- Short URL: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/fish-river-hike-for-project-dignaty
Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The sad truth is that millions of girls in South Africa are not getting the education so desperately needed. These girls are missing approximately five days of school every month because they cannot afford to buy sanitary pads. This amounts to 60 missed school days a year. “In Africa, the decision whether to buy a loaf of bread to satiate a grumbling stomach or a sanitary pad to manage a young girl’s period is commonly made amongst households struggling to survive. And more often than not, the stomach wins.”
According to UNICEF, one in ten schoolgirls in Africa miss classes or drop out completely due to their period, and substitute regular pads for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspaper or bark. Not enough is being done to make sanitary pads available to schoolgirls that is in need of them, not even mentioning the education days lost due to this. Stand back for a moment – and think about the discomfort and humiliation (using leaves and grass to manage the discomfort) these girls must go through.
The plight of these girls encouraged us (myself and a friend, Eunice van Schalkwyk) to employ an unconventional way to raise awareness and funds. We teamed up with Project Dignity, a non-profit organisation aiming to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates in schools by giving them access to re-usable sanitary wear. The cost of providing one girl with a sanitary set is R230. A set consists of a panty and washable sanitary pads. This will last for a minimum of 5 years!
Eunice and I took up the challenge to hike the Fish River Canyon in full corporate wear. This means hiking in business suits (and footwear!) approximately 90 km in five days. We will also be carrying all our logistical necessities with us in just two briefcases.
Our aim is to assist as many as possible girls in this regard.
We will descend into the canyon on the 7th of August 2018 (August is women’s month) and will be busy completing the route during woman’s day as well.
As responsible citizens, we should do what we can to bring this under the attention of the private sector as well as government. As a point in case, India recently relieved taxes on sanitary pads in an effort to make it more available. Unfortunately, this is not yet the case in South Africa.
Should interested parties donate through the Project Dignity website, the bank reference should be indicated as FishHike. Follow the donation link - http://www.subzpads.co.za/donate-now/ or use the following banking details:
First National Bank
Account No: 6249 4489 646
Branch Code: 250655
Swift Code: firnzajj
Please note that no personal gain is derived from this initiative. All logistical arrangements were done at our own cost – all donations go directly to Project Dignity.
For any further information regarding the Fish River Challenge, you are welcome to contact me at 079 184 2268 / [email protected] or Eunice van Schalkwyk at 072 967 4804 / [email protected] For information regarding Project, Dignity contact Sue Barnes at 083 661 8963 or visit their website at www.projectdignity.org.za.
Your support in assisting us to bring this under the attention of willing donors will make a tangible difference in the life of schoolgirls countrywide.
- Aug 08, 2018 - USD $ 39.44
- "All the best for this awesome endeavour!" - Event81
Project Dignity Trust
We aim to supply as many girls as possible with SUBZ washable, re-usable sanitary pads and panty packs. Many girls simply don't have access to this very basic necessity and this keeps them out of school for up to one week each month. We also educate girls on puberty and empower them to take care of themselves when we distribute these packs.