Faculty wows to keep female students in class – Women’s Day 2018

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 08/08/2018 - 08:22

Faculty wows to keep female students in class – Women’s Day 2018

The North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Education on the campus in Vanderbijlpark is hard at work to ensure that no young lady need to skip class because of her period and a lack of sanitary products.

This is according to Dr Elize Küng, acting deputy director of the School of Professional Studies in Education.

During the course of Women’s Month, the faculty will be campaigning for the Charity Begins at Home Programme to not only raise awareness about sustainable, washable sanitary pads and panties, but also motivate members of the university community to sponsor needy students with such products. “We decided to focus on reusable sanitary products because it offers a long term – three to five years – solution opposed to collecting normal sanitary products that will only make an impact over the next two to three months,” explains Dr Küng.

She furthermore says that unfortunately for many students the price of sanitary products are just too high and as such they are forced to use unhygienic methods to manage their menstrual cycle or revert to absenteeism. “Unfortunately, in South Africa the decision whether to buy a loaf of bread to feed grumbling stomachs, or a sanity pad to manage a young girl’s period is commonly made amongst households struggling to survive. And more often than not, the stomach wins,” says Dr Küng and further states that this problem is also a dire reality at university level.

For a donation of R153 the faculty will be able to put together a sanitary management pack consisting of a two cotton panties, three standard sized pads and one extra long pad. These patented pads are designed by SUBZ – a KwaZulu-Natal based company. It consists of five layers of hydrophilic fabric, which wicks moisture away from the body.

“We would like to challenge the other campuses, our student populace and our staff fraternity to join us in making a real difference in the lives of our female students,” says Dr Küng and adds that not being able to access sanitary products, leads to a decline in students’ attendance and ultimately affects their academic performance. “Let’s gift young women with the gift of dignity this Women’s Month, and by doing so empower young women to reach their full potential,” says Dr Küng.

According to Brenda McCann from SUBZ the aim of the reusable products is to empower girls to take control of their future by not letting their monthly period put a stopper in their school or university activities. In addition to being washable, the products further contain no chemical or gels, therefore allergy free and cancer causing toxin free. The company has won several awards for this patent, including the Clarins Most Dynamic Woman Award, the SAB Social Innovation Award and the Greenovation Award.

For more information please liaise with Dr Küng by sending her an email at elize.kung@nwu.ac.za .