By Lerato Ndlovu
About 400 hundred vulnerable primary schoolchildren in Ward 13 under Mhangura constituency have benefited free reusable sanitary wear from a kind gesture extended by Rooted Love, a non-governmental organisation.
The beneficiaries are from two of the three primary schools in the ward with the last school waiting to receive the deliveries.
Ward 13 Councillor, Cde Martha Paul, said the non-governmental organisation has helped rural girls from her ward whose parents are currently failing to make ends meet hence affecting their children’s hygiene and health during menstrual cycles.
“99.9% of the girl child in my ward just like anywhere else can’t afford to buy the usual pad monthly,” she said.
“The gesture by Rooted Love has left more than 300 girls with pads that they can now use freely without fear of health threats.
So far, two primary schools, Muni and Mtunzi have benefited whilst Pfupi primary school will receive the donation anytime from now.”
Cllr Paul added that the girls between the age of 13 and 18 received a package comprising of two washable and reusable pads, two pegs and a quarter bar of a green bar soap.
The Cllr who is also Makonde Rural District Council vice chairperson, said that other wards in the entire district were also expected to benefit from the ongoing exercise.
“We are hoping to engage more non-governmental organisations like this one, so that all the girls in the rural wards of the district benefit from the exercise.”
Most girls here, she said, were also vulnerable to sex predators who pray on young girls in need of basic requirements like menstrual pads.
“Unavailability of sanitary wear affects the girls psychologically especially during school as they either mess their uniforms leading to them being mocked by other school children; as a way of trying to avoid that, they end up getting involved in love relationships with older men who either impregnate or infect them with sexual transmitted diseases in exchange of money to buy the sanitary pads,” she said.
Makonde district has many places with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates due to a number of artisanal gold mining sites in both Makonde and Mhangura constituencies where miners ply along Sanyati, Angwa and Hunyani rivers.
According to National Aids Council, the most affected groups are girls, young women, sex workers and youths; hence “the gesture by Rooted Love will have a marked decline in the number of girls getting affected,” she added.