Two Women running 2350kms along the Freedom Trail in South Africa
September 25 – October 27, 2014
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Running on average 80km per day for 32 days on South Africa’s 2350km Freedom Trail, Mimi Anderson (UK) and Samantha Gash (AUS) will promote awareness of this issue and raise funds for the establishment of a social enterprise business.
Latest Freedom Runner News…
Attending school as an adolescent girl in the developing world provides more challenges than the threat of bullying, a lack of motivation to study and poor body image. Unicef did a study that took a snapshot of the state of education across the globe -
Current estimates place the number of out-of-school children at 93 million – more than the entire population of the Philippines . The majority of these children are girls, and almost 80 per cent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The article below looks at the impact that menstruation has on a girls experience at school. Due to poor facilities and a lack (and/or high expense) of feminine hygiene products – a large percentage of girls will miss school during their periods. As a consequence of missing close to a week of school ever month, these girls fall behind in their studies, fail tests and have low confidence & self esteem.
In the Libode District of South Africa, 18% of girls did not tell anyone about their first period; 56% had difficulty communicating about periods with a significant mature female and; only three out of 489 students could talk to their teacher about life challenges.
Shrouded in mystery, menstruation for young girls in South Africa often ends up being a stumbling block for their education. 30% of girls in South Africa do not attend school during menstruation and on average skip four days of school every month. In the Eastern Cape, 40% of girls in Grade 9 drop out. Young girls are ignorant about sexual reproductive health because their parents and teachers do not talk to them about puberty and menstruation. Some teachers even send girls home when they menstruate.
On a different project, Save the Children (UK) partnered with the Small Projects Foundation and Proctor & Gamble to provide free sanitary pads to girls in rural schools in the Eastern Cape, lobbied school governing bodies to upgrade their toilets and conducted workshops to the girls on communication.
Freedom Runners goes to the next step by working with Save the Children (SA) to create a social enterprise business. The business empowers women and girls to earn an income from manufacturing feminine hygiene products – which in-turn helps to combat a reason why girls are absent from school and normalises the issue of menstruation to their wider community.
“..investment in projects that directly support women and girls is essential to reducing poverty. In 2012, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that ‘the greatest return comes from investing in girls and women. When they are educated, they drive development in their families, communities and nations.’