Former Malawi Big Brother Africa (BBA) reality television show representative Natasha Tonthola has launched a project to curb school drop-out among girls.
Called Dignity Project, the initiative targets girls in rural and peri-urban areas.
Through the project, Tonthola, who is also director of Mama Africa Trust Foundation, said in an interview the project plans to provide an ultimate pack containing 10 re-usable sanitary pads and four pairs of underwear, draw string bag, zip lock plastic and six tablets of laundry soap for each beneficiary.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Lilongwe, Tonthola said her organisation embarked on producing and providing underwear and reusable sanitary wear to school-going girls from underprivileged and vulnerable families to motivate them to be in school.
She said: “Girls in Malawi have lagged behind in crucial areas such as education and social progress. It is our expectation that the number of girls who drop out of school will reduce drastically.”
According to Tonthola, primary goals of her foundation include helping girls to remain in school and, thereby, avoid early marriages as well as the consequences they might face in the future.
Minister of Gender, Disability, Children and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati, who was the guest of honour at the launch, welcomed the project, saying it would help school-going girls between the ages of eight and 19 in Malawi to remain in school.
She observed that about 40 percent of girls do not go to school for one week per month when they are menstruating due to poor sanitation facilities in most schools. n