Scarlett van der Merwe, Western Cape Regional Miss Mini Junior South African finalist for 2017, is using her fame to give back to her community.
On Saturday 3 December, this local girl hosted a breakfast charity event at the Green Fountain to raise funds for underprivileged girls who cannot afford sanitary towels. Working with the sanitary pad company MIMI, money raised will go towards helping girls, particularly schoolgirls, who will receive the much needed toiletry each month.
Bronwyn Stassen, Western Cape Regional Miss Petite Teen Junior South Africa finalist 2017, joined in the fundraiser and awareness campaign, along with Shane Myburgh, the current Mr Petite Teen Junior South Africa, Kaitlyn Wheelan another Western Cape Miss Teen Junior SA finalist 2017 and Reana van Tonder, the current Miss Africa 2016.
The struggle and measures underprivileged women go through every month, as they cannot afford sanitary towels, were highlighted at the charity event. Very often they depend on the good grace of others to acquire sanitary towels and other toiletries.
Van der Merwe says she is determined to raise as much funds for women and girls in the Helderberg area who face this humiliation every month.
MIMI is Swahili for “I am”, which expresses the power of self-acceptance, particularly for women. It was established after research showed more than two million children miss up to 60 days of schooling to avoid the embarrassing consequences of lack of access to this essential product.
Ramona Kasavan, CEO of MIMI, says some women are forced to use facecloths, rags, rolled up socks or even newspaper.
She says: “They become hugely embarrassed when their peers realise these products have failed them, causing blood stains on their clothes. Other children, being the way they are, will ridicule and mock them to the degree that the girls will do anything to avoid the social ostracism. Some girls will go as far as to exchange sex for money for pads in order to avoid the public humiliation that comes with their menstrual cycle.”
With only R180 donation per girl, one can spare these girls the humiliation and abuse they have to endure in order to deal with something that is natural and part of every girl’s life.
V To help Van der Merwe in her efforts to raise money for Helderberg girls, contact Mel on 074 688 1515.