Cape Town – 25 November 2020: The Clicks Helping Hand Trust (HHT), part of South Africa’s largest retail pharmacy chain, and Novartis South Africa collaborated to donate 3000 re-usable pads to actively support the Girl Child during the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December, 2020).
Research shows that girls can lose up to 5 school days per month of schooling if they do not have adequate sanitary ware. Re-usable sanitary towels provide an alternative to the high cost of disposable sanitary towels, minimising the cost of purchase as they can be washed with clean water and re-used for 3 to 5 years. The gift of re-usable sanitary pads reduces some of the financial burden that may lead to abusive and violent behaviour in indigent families, and allows the girl child to maintain her dignity while focusing on her education in a much safer schooling environment.
The recipients of the 3000 reusable sanitary towels were 500 girls from Ivory Park Secondary School and 500 girls from Phomolong Secondary School. The two schools are located in Ivory Park as well as Phomolong in Tembisa, Gauteng.
As COVID-19 has forced people to retreat indoors, UN Women has reported a significant increase in the pandemic of violence against women and girls. The organisation has noted that restrictions in movement, financial concerns, isolation with abusers and cramped living conditions have been some of the key contributing factors that have exacerbated domestic violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the distressing statistics quoted by UN Women is the increase of 36.8% in calls for help to Childline South Africa in August 2020 from the same month in 2019.
In acknowledgement of the donation received, the Phomolong Secondary School Principal, Mr H. Mushwana, said: “We are humbled by your decision, commitment and endeavours to uplift the lives of the poor African girl child. The donation made to our school will go a long way in ensuring that the dignity of our learners is restored. Our girls will be able to come to school every day without any hindrance. We are looking forward to having a lengthy relationship with you.” Mrs R.E Mamosebo, Principal of Ivory Park Secondary School affirmed that the sanitary packs distributed would go a long way in assisting some of the vulnerable girls. Mr Sanele Nyathi, Clicks Transformation Manager, who also oversees the Helping Hand Trust, said: “In the effort to attain gender equality and to empower our girls, the partnership with Novartis South Africa plays a crucial role in ensuring that we continue to contribute to a key sustainable development goal. We are highly appreciative of the sustained support from Novartis South Africa.”
Novartis South Africa’s involvement in this initiative was spurred by its corporate responsibility commitment which aims to make an important contribution to society through its business.