FEMALE learners will now have access to sanitary wear from their schools, a development which the Government says is part of a five year-year plan to ensure that no child is left behind in the provision of quality, equitable and inclusive education in Zimbabwe.
The pads were procured after the Treasury set aside over $500 00 of this year’s budget for sanitary wear after it was discovered that many girls miss out on school during menstruation.
Reports have also shown that some girls opt to drop out of school at the onset of their monthly period as they do not have access to the alternative reusable pads, newspapers and old pieces of clothes.
Zimbabwean women constitute about 60 percent of the illiterate adult population as the school dropout rate, particularly among female students, is still high.
In an interview, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Director of Communications and Advocacy, Mr Taungana Ndoro said part of the five-year plan for the Ministry was focused on regular and reliable provision of appropriate sanitary wear for female learners.
“The next five years calls for intensive efforts to ensure that no child is left behind in the provision of quality, equitable and inclusive education in Zimbabwe. In order to do, so there will be a deliberate focus on the provision of the school feeding and nutrition program and the regular and reliable provision of appropriate sanitary wear for female learners,” said Mr Ndoro.
He said the 2021-2025 education strategy was also aimed at providing learners with support services to improve schools’ resilience by entrenching disaster risk reduction.
Nkayi legislator, Ms Stars Mathe said the provision of the sanitary wear for learners was going to bring a smile to thousands of learners whose schools work was affected due lack of pads.
“As a passionate legislator, I am happy to say that most of our schools especially in rural areas have received sanitary pads. These are already stored in schools and ready for the schools as we await the opening of schools,” said Ms Mathe.
“I am happy to say some schools have already selected individual teachers to deal with every menstrual hygiene issue in different schools meaning our learners will have some once schools open. We are happy with the quality of the pads as well and we hope that the Government will continue availing more so that every learner including those in urban areas have access.”
“For a long time, girls have missed out of school due to menstruation and now we are happy because they will have pads which were sourced by the government,” she said.
One of the parents, Ms Slyvia Magutshwa said sanitary pads have always been a challenge especially for learners from rural schools who cannot afford to buy disposable and commercial ones.
She said girls from her village were used to newspapers and old rugs during their menses which made them lose confidence in themselves as learners.
She welcomed the move by the Government calling for more resources to be availed so that girls enjoy their school days like other learners.
“We have heard that our schools have been receiving pads from the Government which is a good thing because we cannot afford purchasing them monthly. We are happy that for once our children will go to school without worrying about spoiling their uniforms as some use newspapers,” said Ms Magutshwa.
Miss Clarity Ncube from Lobengula in Bulawayo says even learners from urban areas are in need of sanitary pads.
“For the longest time people often think the need is in rural areas but we have discovered that even out of school youths are failing to buy pads monthly. This move by the Government will bring smiles to hundreds of girls and I am confident it will ensure many girls concentrate at school without worrying about blood stains and being mocked,” she said.
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