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Sun, Jul 3, 2022

Helping Young Girls Go to School

Together with its customers, over the next two months, SPAR will once again be making a massive impact in the lives of girls through its Petals Pledge a Pack initiative. Now in its second year, through this campaign, the national retailer is ensuring that young girls don’t have to put their education on hold when they have their periods.

“Every year, young girls miss school as they simply cannot afford sanitary products,” says Bhavna Sanker, SPAR’s Brand Promotion and Advertising Manager. “We believe that education should not stop when periods start, so through the SPAR Petals Pledge a Pack campaign, we are once again encouraging our shoppers to join us in the fight to end period poverty and keep young girls in school.”

Research conducted by the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic in 2018 showed that 30% of South African girls aged between 10 and 18 skip school during their menstrual cycle. These youngsters simply cannot afford sanitary products and as a result, they miss three to five days of school every month, which adds up to around 50 school days being lost every year.

“At SPAR, we believe that every girl has a right to an education as this serves as a springboard out of poverty and into a world of possibilities. This motivated the start of the SPAR Petals Pledge a Pack initiative in 2021 and with the support of our stores and our shoppers, it proved to be a massive success,” says Bhavna.

With 646 SPAR stores in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland participating in the initial campaign, over a five-week period, shoppers donated more than 130 000 packs worth R500 000. As every store got to choose a local school to support, more than 640 schools were impacted across the Southern African region.

“Through the campaign, our customers were encouraged to purchase a pack of SPAR Petals Classic Sanitary Pads 8’s for only R5 and donate these at participating stores. Working with a range of partners, these were collected and distributed to schools, successfully reaching the girls who needed them the most,” explains Bhavna.

One of SPAR’s partners in this initiative has been the BAWSS Foundation, a women-led organisation committed to ensuring that every girl and young woman in Eswatini has access to quality menstrual hygiene products. Through this partnership, 23 000 sanitary pads were collected reaching 10 500 girls and young woman nationwide.

Another SPAR Petals Pledge a Pack beneficiary, the Khazimla Project, has been able to aid over nine schools in the Gqeberha community. Renee Whittal, the Director for the Project reports that through their interaction with educators at the schools, they have been able to identify a further benefit of the project.

“A less tangible benefit is the preservation of the confidence and dignity of the young ladies that we support. This all goes towards the long-term goal of the empowerment and ensuring a brighter future for these young ladies,” says Renee.

Bhavna says that the feedback SPAR has received from its partners has been nothing short of a celebration: “It has shown us how South Africans stand together to conquer challenges, that as a collaborative community it is possible to make a difference for these young girls by empowering them to choose education over embarrassment.”

Bhavna says that with the launch of the 2022 campaign, SPAR is hoping to reach even more girls and raise additional awareness. She says the 2022 SPAR Petals Pledge a Pack will be running in all participating stores from 21 June to 31 July. Shoppers can participate by purchasing SPAR Petals Classic Sanitary Pads for only R6 and donating the pack at the trolley in the front of participating stores.

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