Changemakers donate sanitary pads

• By Martha Nangombe

IN efforts to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the girl child around the world, Capricorn Group employees, in their role as Changemakers, donated over 16 500 sanitary pads to more than 50 vulnerable young girls from orphanages and other vulnerable communities in Windhoek on Tuesday in celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child.

The day is an internationally recognized event that empowers girls and amplifies their voices by creating awareness to their challenges annually on the 11 October.

Each of the recipients received a year’s value of sanitary pads.

“Research shows that underprivileged girls can miss up to 50 days of school per year due to the lack of access to adequate feminine hygiene products. We therefore encouraged our employees, in support of our Group’s purpose of being Connectors of Positive Change, to not only avail their time to spend here today with the girls, but also to donate their resources to purchase these feminine hygiene products. This way we are all doing our part to support and empower a young girl,” Marlize Horn, Group Executive: Brand and Corporate Affairs and Executive Officer, Capricorn Foundation said.

The handover of more than 16 500 sanitary pads was accompanied by an afternoon filled with fun events and an inspirational speech by Miss Namibia’s Second Princess, Diana Andimba.

“I feel like I am on cloud nine. I am happy to receive my pads for a whole year, and happy to be here having some fun,” one of the recipients of the pads said.

Capricorn Group’s Changemaker programme has built a solid reputation for the Group as a Connector of Positive Change within the communities, and employees will continuously look for opportunities to bring about positive change in our communities and contribute to social welfare in Namibia.

Speaking on the International Day of the Girl Child, United Nations Population Fund, Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem said a girl’s life should begin the way every life should, as an open book in which she writes her own story said

Kanem said as the girl child moves through life chapter by chapter, she needs to be nurtured, encouraged and supported.

“She has a greater chance of recognizing she deserves opportunities and options, of considering herself worthy, valued, participating in and contributing her gifts to the world.

“For it is these girls who grow up to become women making laws and making noise, breaking records, breaking barriers, and inspiring movements as well as igniting change. From protesting to leading countries, they tell the next generation of girls and take up space,” she said.

Kanem furthered stressed that from the moment a girl takes her first breath, she is already at a disadvantage simply because she was born a girl.

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“Globally, almost twice as many girls aged 15 – 19 are not in employment, education or training compared to boys the same age. The COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate change have increased the threats girls face. Before the pandemic, 100 million girls were projected to be at risk of child marriage over the next 10 years; pandemic-related poverty and education disruptions have added 10 million more girls to that figure. For girls in humanitarian settings, these risks are even greater.

 In 2021, the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Program to End Child Marriage and its partners provided almost 2.6 million adolescent girls with life skills and comprehensive sexuality education, which empowers them to make choices about their bodies and futures. The organisation engaged nearly 16 million people in dialogues on child marriage, the rights of adolescent girls and the importance of gender equality.

“We worked to improve access to school and to adolescent-friendly health services. And yet, we are nowhere near finished. There are more than 600 million adolescent girls globally.

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They have hopes to fulfill and dreams to realize.

Every single one of us can commit to being their allies and champions. Instead of sidelining a girl, shine a spotlight on her. Instead of silencing her, hand her a microphone.  Hear what she has to say. Give her the chance to chart her destiny and be a force for positive change,” Kanem said.

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