Adolescent girls at Mzumazi Primary School in Lilongwe Rural will now attend classes comfortably during their monthly periods after the Malawi and Rest of the World (RoW) golf teams donated washable sanitary pads.
Representatives of the two golf teams yesterday handed over the pad packs worth K500 000 to 120 young girls from Standard Four to Eight at the school.
RoW captain team Sawako Nevin, wife to British High Commissioner Michael Nevin, said in an interview after making the donation that the gesture sought to empower girls by addressing the struggles they face when they come of age.
She said: “We have made this donation because the Malawian girls’ primary school completion rate has been consistently lower than boys’ and some statistics say that around 50 percent fail to complete their junior education and lack of materials for menstrual hygiene is a contributing factor because girls tend to stay home when they are in their periods.”
Nevin expressed fear that girls who miss classes every month tend to drop out from school and are more likely to end up in early marriages.
The pads were procured from Girls Empowerment Network (Genet), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that seeks to empower underprivileged girls.
Speaking during the presentation ceremony, Genet programmes manager Lindiwe Jere said the washable sanitary pads can be used for a long time and are suitable for the rural underprivileged girls who were using rags during their periods.
Ruth Chimzimu, a Standard Seven learner at the school, said the modern pads will free her from absenteeism and to freely attend classes without fear of being exposed as was the case when she was using rags during her menstrual period days.
Funds for the procurement of the pads were donated by Airtel Malawi during a charity golf tournament played in March where Malawian ladies played against a team comprising ladies of from other countries but staying in Malawi.