MASERU – 1000 schoolgirls in the Mafeteng and Quthing districts received reusable menstrual towels, that can last for up to five years from Vodacom Lesotho Foundation this week, to mark the Day of the Girl Child,

“The M250,000 worth of towels were delivered under the Foundation’s Dignity campaign, an initiative whose objective is to provide girls with reusable, washable, modern, and eco-friendly sanitary towels with a lifespan of up to five years” said Executive Head of Legal, Regulatory and External Affairs, Ts’epo Ntaopane.

While the pads are currently made in South Africa, Vodacom says it has now embarked on finding ways to make the pads in Lesotho.

Ntaopane says “What we did this time was to ask suppliers to submit designs and the selected supplier rolled out menstrual hygiene training.”

In Mafeteng district the towels were handed over to Bereng, Matsepe, Hope, Mafeteng, St. John’s, and Masentle high school girls, while the Quthing beneficiary schools are Makhaola, Hermitage, Eagles Peak, Qacha’s Nek and Mohlapiso high schools.

The foundation says the towels are a sustainable resource, which allows girls to wash and reuse them, rather than having to buy disposable sanitary towels every month.

It says in addition, they are inexpensive and environmentally friendly, with a social benefit that stands to greatly mitigate the disadvantages many disempowered girls endure during their process of maturing.

“We look to help girls reclaim the dignity that poverty denies them; enable them to make a lasting and positive impact on the communities they live in and society as a whole. We believe that when girls and women have health, education, and opportunity, communities and our world are stronger.” says the foundation.

The South African manufacturers of the pads say many girls in Africa miss 3 to 5 days of school each month because they cannot afford sanitary pads. And most girls eventually end up dropping out of school altogether.

“Palesa Reusable Pads can be used for up to 5 years, for less than 20% of the cost of disposable pads. For many families, basic survival is a priority and there simply isn’t enough money in the budget to buy pads every month.” says the company

Reusable sanitary towels provide a solution that also addresses the environmental challenge posed by disposable pads.

There is no need to throw them away every month or burn them, especially by schools where there are many girls who have to dispose of them.