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Wesizwe Platinum’s Bakubung Platinum Mine Honours Mandela Day

18 July 2016

Wesizwe Platinum’s Bakubung Platinum Mine Honours Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

In an event to honour the Mandela Day, at Tswaidi High School all three high schools in Phatsima and Ledig: Khayalethu High School, Tswaidi High School and Itumeleng High School received packages of sanitary towels for girl learners. Wesizwe – Bakubung Platinum Mine (BPM) in partnership with the Department of Education-Bojanala District had agreed to focus on giving sanitary towels and puberty education to learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

The main objective of the event was to empower 600 girl learners from secondary schools by ensuring that they remain in class throughout the year, by providing them with puberty education and sanitary protection during menstruation.

Various studies have indicated that, one in ten school girls in Africa misses classes or drop out completely due to their menstrual period. The studies indicate that a girl who is absent from school due to menstrual period for 4 days per month loses 13 learning days which is equivalent to 2 weeks of learning every school term. Over the course of her five years high school career, the girl will lose 195 learning days, which equates to almost 30 weeks out of 180.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Nelson Mandela

“In Ledig and Phatsima villages there might be girls who are faced with the same dilemma during their menstruation. It is the responsibility of the community and all stakeholders to ensure that the girl learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in these villages are not missing school days purely on the basis of not having sanitary towels”, said Eddie Mohlabi, General Manager for BPM.

He further reiterated that failure to intervene by all the stakeholders to address the plight of girl learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds is direct contribution and perpetuation of the cycle of poverty.

“The right for the girl learners to dignity is a human right same as their human right to receive education”, he concluded.

The Deputy Director General for the North West Department of Education also shared a few words of appreciation for the sponsors while giving all learners words of encouragement and wisdom.

“Boys should be taught not to make laughing stock of the girls. They need to know the implications of going for one’s period every month so that they do not ridicule girls when they are on period”, she said. She also reiterated the importance of Life Orientation (LO) education for the girl learners as this subject can assist in ensuring that all angles of girl learner development are catered for and therefore no girl learner feels like an outcast at some point of their lives. 

Mrs. Mapaledi made a plea to all schools to have sanitary pads budget in their annual budget, to heed the call made by the sponsors. “LO educators, it’s not only about the sanitary towels but about the health implications of these learners. Education in terms of proper use and hygienic use of the towels and how a girl must behave is also part of the education that needs to be fused into the LO curriculum”, she concluded stating the importance of education around this matter. If all learners, including boys, could be informed about these issues, the subject would not be taboo and embarrassing for those that go through it. 

“Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it's very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country”. Nelson Mandela


“During certain periods of the month girls have to stay at home because they feel embarrassed because they might cause a mess in class due to not having sanitary towels. We continue to teach regardless of them not being there and they are then deprived of education and are unable to achieve what they were meant to achieve in life”, said Mr. … Tswaidi High School principal. He further thanked Wesizwe and Bakubung Platinum Mine (BPM) as well as the Department of Education for seeing the need to start the initiative.

“This will improve the rates of absenteeism on some days of the month, all learners will be comfortable to be in class anytime of the day or month”, he said. He also stated that these kinds of gestures have major implications on people’s livelihoods. “When girls are educated and can afford their own lives, phenomena such as the “Blesser” would not exist”, he added.

Boy learners were also encouraged to respect girls and play the brotherly role instead of making jokes about them when they encounter puberty. “This way our boy learners will grow to be men of dignity and respect because they respect women and children. Now that we know how to keep a girl learner at school all the time, let us do all we can to do so”, he concluded.

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid it is man-made and can be removed by actions of human beings”. Nelson Mandela.

All guests agreed that a vote of thanks should go to the sponsors of the, a girl learner representative also said a few words of appreciation, highlighting the importance of all stakeholders to pull together. “What Bakubung Platinum Mine and the Department of Education has done for us girls is huge, we hope they continue working with us in building this community through our schools”, she said.

The three high schools are currently doing well in terms of pass rates. It is a hope that all boys and girls from Grade Reception (R) will continue with their studies through to Grade 12. The hope of all communities is with the children, taking care of them is never a loss but a gain that can never be quantified.

 

 


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