Sanitary towel drive to help girls

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REACHING OUT: Babalwa Mbuku, founder and owner of MIA Eastern Cape which provides sanitary towels to underprivileged girls in rural areas Picture: SUPPLIED

Woman’s organisation focuses on rural areas

A PROUDLY South African organisation, owned by Babalwa Mbuku, 38, is making a difference in the lives of pupils in townships and villages of the Eastern Cape.

MIA Eastern Cape is a local 100% blacked-owned and managed company that distributes sanitary towels to school children.

Through another initiative that Mthatha-born Mbuku, established – Operation feed A Child – reaching out to impoverished and needy communities, the 38-year-old got to experience first-hand how young girls suffer and miss out on important schooling when they are menstruating

“MIA saw the plight of many women, especially young girls who are forced to stay at home when they are in their menstrual cycle because they don not have the necessary items they need. The unhealthy material that women use, [in rural areas] leads to infections and other serious illnesses such as cancer, therefore as MIA we decided to intervene,” Mbuku said.

Apart from distribution, MIA’s quality services include training workshops for girl pupils to assist them in confidence-building as well as embracing their womanhood. MIA Eastern Cape works in partnership with the Department of Education to improve the conditions of sanitation facilities in the townships and village schools. The partnership also makes provision of SHE BINS for disposal as well as waste management disposal and recycling to ensure a clean and healthy environment.

“I work with everyone who shares the burden of keeping a girl child at school during the menstrual cycle period. I have been receiving orders from social activists who see the plight of children suffering in various communities,” she said.

Mbuku said she hopes to work together with the government in providing a conclusive learning environment at schools. “Just like it is important for Department of Education to provide food for underprivileged learners, the Department of Health should provide healthcare services at schools and look at the issue of keeping girl learners at school during their periods,” she said.

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