The Gauteng Provincial Government will by 2019 provide more than one million dignity packs to girl learners in the province, says Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.
MEC Mayathula-Khoza made the announcement on Thursday during the National Consultative Indaba on Sanitary Dignity for Indigent Girls and Women held at Ditsong in Tshwane.
The indaba was organised by Women Minister Susan Shabangu to find solutions for public-private partnership in an effort to provide sanitary pads to school girls and poor unemployed young women in South Africa.
The Department of Social Development is the leading entity responsible for the roll-out of the project in collaboration with Social Cluster Departments including Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Arts, Culture and Recreation, and the Department of Human Settlements.
MEC Mayathula-Khoza said currently, more than 300 000 girl learners in Gauteng are receiving dignity packs, and the Executive Council has decided that 1 million girl learners should be provided with dignity packs by 2019.
In response to the National Development Plan, she said the department is pushing ahead by implementing the Gauteng’s Radical Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation (TMR) Programme.
“Through accelerated social transformation, girl learners in township schools are taking their rightful place among the top performing learners of the province. The provision of dignity packs has yielded positive results by keeping girl learners at schools.
“Improved quality of life, reduced hunger and poverty amongst our vulnerable citizens can only be achieved through accelerated social transformation. Economic inclusion of the marginalised poor, in particular those in the outskirts of formal economy are empowered, not only as recipients of government relief but role players,” said MEC Mayathula-Khoza.
Radical Economic Transformation
She added that through Radical Economic Transformation and Township Economy Revitalisation, the provincial government uses black women-owned cooperatives to manufacture and package the dignity packs.
“Similar mechanism is used in the provision of a basket of services to orphaned and vulnerable children in the province such as free school uniforms, free basic health care, free psycho-social support, free scholar transport, free school nutrition and free dignity packs.”
Based on the increase demands in schools, MEC Mayathula-Khoza said the annual targets for the department had increased by 100% in the subsequent years.
During the 2017/18 financial year, the department will distribute 540 000 dignity packs prioritising orphaned and vulnerable girl children within disadvantaged schools across the 15 education districts in Gauteng.
The packs contain sanitary towels, soap, toothpaste, body lotion, roll-on deodorant and a roll of toilet paper. –