Visiting the schools in Cradock
I got to discover other parts of South Africa I did not know. Cradock is a very small town, but the people are very warm hearted, caring, compassionate and loving. The place reminded me of Limpopo where I come from, it has been part of our culture and tradition to assist and care for the less fortunate and marginalized members of our communities. This is also embodied in the spirit and tradition of us as Africans, (Ubuntu/botho). The first day I got to Cradock, I met up with Nombulelo Mbanjana , she is also a very beautiful soul herself, we had to plan for the day ahead. She had already notified the school about my coming a week before.
We visited four schools on this trip to provide a good number of girsla t each school with our GirlStuff.Period Menstrual Kits. The first school was NXUBA SENIOR PRIMARY SCHOOL, the girls were so happy to receive the pads. The second school was SOLOMON AKENA SENIOR PRIMARY SCHOOL; here I met a bunch of young vibrant girls who were so excited and it was smiles all over the room. These girls made my trip worthwhile, I enjoyed every minute. The third school was MATHEW GONIWE COMPREHENSIVE SECONDARY SCHOOL. The girls from this school were the best out of all the schools I went to. After we finished giving them the pads, they sang joyously to show their appreciation, that was the highlight of my trip. It was also fulfilling to see the teachers joining in the singing. Our final stop before I had to head out to some meetings and then hone was J. A CALATA SECONDARY SCHOOL.
What I learned
The one thing I learned that really stood out for me was that there is so much more joy in giving than receiving. The impact these pads will have in the lives of the girls, from all four schools is going to be tremendous. From what the teachers said to me, some of the girls start menstruating in class and most of the time, the teachers ask the girls to go back home, so not to be laughed at by the boys. At times, when the school has enough money, they buy pads and keep them in the office just to help when the day comes.
Most of the girls stay with their grandparents, so they do not get the education about menstruating and sex in general as the topic is regarded as taboo, for an elder to discuss such topics with minors. Only a few lucky ones get the advantage of talking about the changes they experience as they come to that age.
The majority of girls in the rural areas stay with their grandparents, there is still a lot to be done by both teachers and parents. Times has changed so much, young girls enter into womanhood as early as 12yrs and most of them are still young to understand the changes of their bodies.
As this is a dream of mine, to help empower young woman and the youth in this country. Starting with the community, where I am from “Bergnek” As they say charity begins at home. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Warren Te Brugge, and My Arms Wide Open, for the continuous support, and his commitment to humanity which inspires us and many throughout the world.
The future of all South Africans requires us to give hope and build a better future for all of our people.
With the support of LunaPads.com and AFRIPads, My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period are participating in an international campaign to get the attention of Oprah Winfrey and the OWN network. We believe that with the support of Oprah Winfrey's and her organizations in Canada and the US we can have a direct and powerful impact on the lives of thousands of girls and women in many developing countries. Watch for our campaigns and news releases as well as pictures and video's of our activities. This month in South Africa we will be distributing 400 kits to girls in rural and urban schools in South Africa and we ask you to spread the news and re-tweet with the tags #Pads4Oprah #GirlStuffPeriod #MyArmsWideOpen #Lunapads and #AFRIPads
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The My Arms Wide Open® Foundation provides support for mothers, children, and youth in South Africa, as well as in indigenous and aboriginal communities in other parts of the world, to create and manifest sustainable, autonomous and responsible businesses and economic activity within their communities. My Arms Wide Open works directly with community members, who identify priorities for community development. We help them improve their skills and knowledge in areas such as entrepreneurship, leadership, policy and governance, mentoring, education, food security, infrastructure and personal development. Our work is focused in five key areas that respond to indigenous needs and benefit the community as a whole. Supported by a network of partners, My Arms Wide Open is committed to helping communities be vibrant, sustainable and environmentally attractive.
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