Husnaa Bayat | 22 May 2017
The ripple effects of the Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation #Riding4SAEducation campaign continues to spread across the country as they teamed up with the Pietermaritzburg Muslim Women’s Organisation (PMWO) on 18 May 2017to gift Dignity Dream packs to impoverished learners at a local school.
The pack consisted of reusable sanitary pads for females as well as underwear.
On the 3000km bike ride through the country, Azhar Vadi and the Salaamedia team cycled through Pietermaritzburg where he was hosted by the PMWO. One area of concern that he highlighted was the risk to female learner health due to inaccessibility of proper sanitary products.
He advised that this problem could be solved by the use of specialized reusable pads called Dignity Dream packs. In response, the PMWO team donned their chef coats and cooked up a gourmet fundraising event, of which half the proceeds were reserved for the purchase of Dignity Dream packs for deserving female students at the Kwezi Primary School.
Learners, some of whom are victims of domestic abuse, look forward to attending school in order to escape their intolerable home environment, so much so that they are found playing in the school compound even during vacation days. However, lack of access to sanitary pads has had a negative impact on attendance of female students. One of the educators at the school said: “Many of our learners miss school because they are on their period. They used to use newspaper during this time. They are constantly in fear of getting messed and being ridiculed by others.”
The specialised pads that were distributed to the female learners are manufactured with a waterproof material that absorbs liquid and reduces the risk of soiling on outer garments. Each pack consists of 6 reusable pads as well as 3 pairs of underwear and Ziploc bags for placing dirty pads into during school hours. If properly maintained, the pads can last up to 3 years. They are appropriately named Dignity Dream packs for the new-found dignity which they provide learners with.
The educator expressed appreciation on behalf of the learners and indicated how these dignity packs will uplift them: “We are grateful to Salaamedia and the Pietermaritzburg Muslim Women’s Organization for helping us to combat this problem. This, itself, helps our learners to be confident and have a brighter tomorrow.”
Smiles of delight and excited applause from the girls were sure indicators of their joy and awe at being recipients of these wonder packs. It is the hope of Pietermaritzburg Muslim Women’s Organisation and Salaamedia to continue to restore the broken dignity of tomorrow’s bright stars.