Providing girls with sanitary products and giving them guidelines of how to take care of their body are just a few things done by the Okuhle Foundation, founded by 15-year-old Afiba Mtebele. Mtebele, who is a grade 11 learner and an aspiring doctor, started the foundation to ensure that girls get the basic sanitary products in order not to miss a day of school.
“What inspired me to start this, is seeing how many girls of my age miss so many days of school due to old beliefs that girls shouldn’t go to school during their periods and that many girls can’t afford basic sanitary pads and therefore miss school every month. Seeing all of this while you can afford all the basic things hurts a person to the core,” Mtebele said.
To Mtebele and her friend, Rethabile Leoatle, it is all about youth empowerment and finding new ways to help the youth in need. Mtebele uses her own money and also works during the holidays to earn money to buy sanitary products for the foundation. “Our main focus is to be able to provide basic sanitary products to every girl and encourage them to finish school and go further in life and not give up due to circumstances or background.”
Mtebele and her team are aiming to help more girls in 2019 to ensure that they stay in school and achieve their goals in life. “I still need help with funds to help with buying not only sanitary pads but soap, underwear, panty-liners, etc. Transportation in order to get to the schools where we would be able to hand out the products will also help as well as social exposure as social media is such a big thing in our generation. Through social media a lot of people will get to know about the project and support us,” Mtebele concluded.
Her number is 071-013-6068. – Pierce van Heerden