Grade 9s Raise Awareness About Period Poverty

26 Oct 2021

During the third term the Grade 9s were given a Life Sciences project focusing on menstruation and period poverty called ‘Period poverty to period positivity’. 

Period poverty is defined as the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, including sanitary products, washing facilities and waste management. A period, or menstruation, is a natural biological process that occurs in women on a monthly basis and is the reason for our existence.

An estimated 30% of South African girls do not attend school while they are on their period because they do not have access to sanitary products. The frequency of period-related mishaps increases when girls do not have access to the proper sanitary products. In turn, this causes teasing and reinforces a stigma surrounding periods. Period poverty gives girls unequal access to education, taking away their basic human rights. This is also a key barrier to girls’ education in South Africa. Girls often miss school during their periods, missing up to 4 days of school every month, or an average of 250 days of their high school, with many dropping out of school. The result is that many young women find themselves disempowered and unemployed, allowing the cycle to continue.

The first part of the project involved the boys creating a video or poster campaign aimed at normalising the conversation around menstruation by destigmatising a common stigma teenage boys have about periods. Normalising periods is key to supporting the United Nations' Global Goal 5 by creating a more gender-equal society and ending extreme poverty around the world.

In addition to the video and poster campaign, the Life Science department ran a sanitary product collection campaign. On the 26th of October. the boys were encouraged to become active citizens by donating sanitary products. This allowed the boys an opportunity to practice active citizenship and help alleviate poverty through these donations. The participation of the boys was overwhelming: sixteen large dustbin bags full of panty liners, pads and tampons were collected on that day. These have since been distributed to multiple charities, including QRATE, Lapeng Lighthouse HIV Testing Clinic, Holy Trinity Church and the Themba Bavuma Foundation.

As a community, we are extremely proud of what the Grade 9 boys have achieved through this project.