South Africa

Dads install sanitary pad vending machines across SA

MENstruation Foundation vending machine

A group of dads devised a solution for paucity of access to sanitary towels for schoolgirls, by coming up with a vending machine for pads.

These machines, stocked with high-quality, locally-made sanitary towels, dispense products using a token system.

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A post shared by MENstruation Foundation (@menstruationfoundationza)

To date,128 of these machines have been installed in schools across South Africa. A designated teacher provides tokens to girls each month, which they use to access sanitary towels from the machines in the school bathrooms.

Despite growing awareness of this issue, three out of 10 schoolgirls in South Africa still miss a week of school every month because they cannot afford sanitary towels.

The vending machines are a collaboration between Aurora-Rietvlei Solar Power and the Menstruation Foundation.

They are also located in the library bathrooms, and stocked monthly with locally manufactured and compostable sanitary towels.

Loadshedding can’t impact the vending machines’ mission, as the machines don’t require electricity.

‘If men bled once a month, sanitary products would be free’

More than four million women in schools, varsities and sports clinics miss education and training for an average of five days per month because of the lack of access to sanitary products.

“If men bled once a month, sanitary products would be free. Condoms are free and sanitary products are not, it is a failure of justice,” entertainer and co-founder of MENstruation Foundation Siv Ngesi once said.

The MENstruation Foundation is a non-profit organisation that fights period poverty and gives women dignity.

ALSO READ: Helping teenage girls fight menstrual poverty

Ngesi and entrepreneur Marius Basson are the founders with the likes of rugby player Scarra Ntubeni and actress Ashley de Lange as some of their ambassadors.

To mark Youth Day and Father’s Day, Jacaranda FM’s Good Morning Angels is backing the MENstruation Foundation in their quest to ensure that no girl lacks basic sanitary pads.

“We believe in the power of education and the right of every girl to attend school without interruption. The MENstruation Foundation’s work is critical in ensuring that no girl misses out on learning due to period poverty,” said host of Jacaranda FM’s Breakfast show, Martin Bester.

Together with retail outlet Spar, the station has committed to donating R120 000 to the foundation to install vending machines stocked with sanitary towels.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of this initiative, and I urge everyone to contribute and make a tangible difference in these young girls’ lives,” said Bester.

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A post shared by Breakfast with Martin Bester (@jacabreakfast)

After being inspired by all the giving, Jacaranda’s listeners raised an additional R100,000.

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