Bonteheuwel woman fighting period poverty

The Homeless Sanitary Drive collects sanitary pads and toiletries for women and girls who can’t afford them.

Every day, 300 million women and girls around the globe menstruate, and while this is a natural occurrence, it is turned into a nightmare for those who cannot afford sanitary pads.

A Bonteheuwel woman is running a campaign to collect sanitary pads for women and girls caught in this predicament.

Carmen Simons says she started Homeless Sanitary Drive after her son came home one day and told her there were girls at his school who were staying home because they were menstruating and could not afford pads

Ms Simons started making up toiletry packs with donations of pads, deodorant, cotton buds, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, chocolate, and body lotion.

Her last donation was made to Elsies River High School in May when she donated 120 sanitary packs. But donations have dried up and Ms Simons is urging communities to open their hearts once again so that she can continue with her campaign.

“It is so important to help pupils at school, girls or boys. We as women need to stop mocking each other for whatever we lack but rather support each other with things like this,” she said. “Many shops are selling a pack of pads for R5 but many of us can’t even afford that R5. If we can just make it a little bit easier for them it will help a lot,” she said.

Spes Bona High School Grade 9 teacher Portia Peterse, said sanitary-pad collection drivers were important because many pupils needed the products.

“It’s definitely something needed at the school. Many girls need it because they can’t afford it and pads are often not the most important thing on the families’ shopping lists because families earn so little. Many times they run of out pads and come to the office to ask,” she said.

Maryam Kriel, operations manager at Warriors of Hope, a non-profit organisation based in Salt River that helps poor communities, said many households simply could not afford a crucial need such as disposable sanitary pads.

“The lack of menstrual hygiene products inflicts an indignity upon these millions of young girls who continue to experience a menstrual cycle with no clean materials to manage the period in a dignified manner,” she said.

To make a donation, call Carmen Simons at 071 343 6610.