The main reason girls quit school in South Africa...
We’ve heard it all. When first started working in rural South African communities we noticed that many girls quit school after grade 7 or 8, and so we started to investigate why that was happening. Was it cultural? Where the girls being asked to quit school to do things at home?
We interviewed girls and boys and went to schools to ask the questions. Where are all the girls? Why are the higher grades filled mostly with boys? Is this part of a cultural or tribal tradition?
The answers were different, depending on who was answering the questions. The boys said the girls were lazy, or not as ‘clever’ as they were and quit because they couldn’t understand or were just being lazy and always took time off school.
The girls had very different answers. They didn’t have menstrual supplies and when they started having periods the boys would tease them, if their period started at school and they messed their clothes. When they were fortunate enough to have their period start at home, they had to stay home for the week each month and started to fall behind at school. They were teased and bullied about being lazy or ‘stupid’. They felt left out, left behind and so quit school because it was easier on them. They didn’t want to be teased and bullied because boys just didn’t get it.
The girls that were at school when we asked the questions became really annoyed and told the boys how ‘stupid’ they were for not being able to figure out and understand the real reason why. Once they boys heard this, they became apologetic and a number of them actually volunteered to support the girls and go back into the community and encourage the girls to come back to school.
Imagine being bullied every month because of your period. Could you or would you handle it? Would you expect your daughter to handle it?
From these circumstances, GirlStuff.Period was born. The women of Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa started GirlStuff.Period and manufacture washable, reusable, safe menstrual kits for women and girls, but they can’t help all the girls they’d like to without our help. They take action every day, to do as much as they can. Let’s show them it’s worth it and lend a hand up by donating to the cause.