The programme will see the mining giant donate a year’s worth of sanitary towels to over 2500 girls in the eMalahleni area.
The name ‘Khululeka’ refers to both the freedom and comfort of girls and aims to encourage young girls to not let any circumstances deter them from working towards a brighter future.
“We’re so excited to be here today because every time we do anything to support the youth and in particular young girls, we know that we are starting a revolution. For us at Glencore Coal, this project is about changing the way periods are viewed and stigmatised, but most importantly, this project is about ensuring the uninterrupted education of young girls in our schools. By making sure that you all have sufficient sanitary pads for that time of the month, we are saying to you KHULULEKA, be free, be comfortable and don’t worry. Yours is to work hard and never stop reaching for your dreams,” said Noel Pillay, General Manager of Community & Regulatory Affairs.
The launch event of the campaign was held at Makause Combined School in Phola, which is also one of the beneficiaries of the sanitary towel drive. The event was attended by Glencore Coal management team and staff, advocate for menstrual health awareness and founder of the Pink Touch Foundation, Ayanda Masuku, as well as local community leaders and local Radio Presenter, Mpumi Mbete who was the mc on the day.
Through the project, Glencore Coal will provide a year’s supply of sanitary pads which will be given to all the girls in Grade 7 – Grade 12, starting with five local schools namely:
Lehlaka Combined School – 689 girls
Makause Combined School – 450 girls
Ogies Combined School – 171 girls
Mehlwana Combined School – 650 girls
Mabande Combined School – 572 girls
Keynote speaker, Ayanda Masuku encouraged girls on the day to be comfortable in their skin and understand that menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Each and every one of us is unique, and the most precious part of us is that we are women. We need to be proud of the fact that we can experience menstruation, the most special and natural part of womanhood.” We need to be encouraged to have more conversations that break away the stigma from periods because the negativity creates embarrassment and fear, which should not happen to most of us. Embrace your periods with pride and be bold, because what starts from within shines on the outside, which makes everyone else’s light shine,” said Masuku.
On the day, the students participated in a series of games aimed at educating them on menstrual health to debunk myths and stereotypes around periods. The games involved both boys and girls, to create an environment where both parties are comfortable with tackling the subject and its taboos.
“Thank you, Glencore, for making such an incredible donation to our school. It is not the amount that matters to us but rather the meaning behind such a contribution, for it has the ability to impact our confidence and comfort. We can walk away from today with our heads held high because we are encouraged to understand our bodies better and have honest and open conversations,” said Makause Combined School learner Innocentia Sefawu.
Through the Khululeka Sanitary Towel Drive, Glencore Coal aims to reach more young girls by the end of 2023. The mining company remains steadfast in its resolve to adequately respond to the social-economic challenges faced by their communities to create sustainable progress for all.