This morning myself, Sharon, Jade, Maria and Mrs Hirsch went to the Maputha Secondary School in Thembisa. The Maputha Secondary School was carefully selected out of all the under privileged schools in the area and was chosen to be included in the Girls with Dignity Programme
Margaret Hirsch took the Girls with Dignity Programme that started off as a BWSA (Business Woman of the Year) initiative and has now continued with this fantastic programme in a personal capacity. Margaret realised that many girls in the poverty stricken areas were not attending school during their Menstrual Cycle due to a lack of sanitary pads and how the lack of school attendance affected their grades, ultimately resulting in many young girls not completing their Matric. This drove Margaret to find a practical, long-term solution to help and accommodate young girls today, keeping in mind all the challenges faced in our poverty stricken areas. Each girl in Gr8 & Gr9 was very pleased to receive a “pant pack”, this consists of a panty and three re-usable pads. These panty packs were specifically designed to last 5 years. Furthermore Margaret spend time with the girls motivating them to not be defined by their current financial circumstances and gave them guidelines and tools on how to break free from their circumstances and how to reach their dreams and goals.
“Be the author of your own life story, don’t allow some-one else to write it for you” This is the message sent to the students when Margaret told them of the Essay competition. This is a competition that’s open for the entire school to enter with great prizes (R2000.00 for the 1st prize, R1000.00 for the 2nd price and R500 for the 3rd price). The rules for the competition are fairly simple.
The essay needs to start where the student writes a letter as his/her 90 year old self, looking back at his/her life. The writer must tell the reader about all the goals posts in the writers life that was achieved, this includes the career choices made, the person he/she married, the number of children they had etc. This is a very smart way to force children to think about their life and what they want to accomplish, as far too many children leave school these days with no plan or goals for their lives
The children were visibly grateful for the panty packs and every girl stood in line to receive it. I was astonished to see the atmosphere change as Margaret continued with her motivational talks resulting in a various loud applauses, children screaming out “thank you’s” and looks of admiration.
I am specifically grateful for being a part of this great project as it was truly an eye opener to the small things that we take for granted and knowing that today I was a part of something big, today we probably changed someone’s life in a way that they will never be able to say thank you.