03 Apr 2017 12:00pm
WALVIS BAY, 03 APR (NAMPA) The Namibian Police Women Network at Walvis Bay last week donated sanitary pads and other toiletries to girls of the J.P. Brandt Primary School in the Utuseb village.
Twenty-five girls boarding at the school each received two packets of sanitary pads, two bath soaps, body lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste and a deodorant.
Utuseb is located some 40 kilometres south of Walvis Bay and is inhabited mostly by the Topnaars, a Nama community also known as the Aonin.
The network's coordinator in Erongo, Chief Inspector Johanna van Rooyen told Nampa on Sunday the items were handed over to the girls last Wednesday as part of their mandate to raise funds and support vulnerable groups.
Van Rooyen said the school was identified as one where a lot of children from poor families need assistance with basic necessities.
The women also distributed packets of sweets, chips and biscuits to the rest of the learners.
Van Rooyen said it was an emotional moment, especially when they gave to the girls.
Three of them were 11-year olds and one could tell that they did not even know how to use pads. They use socks or nothing when their cycles start, she said.
Van Rooyen said it is such a sad story that teenage girls at the school sometimes struggle to get pads.
We learned that a lot of these children suffer because parents do not have an income to fully support them, she said.
The community consists mostly of unemployed people who rely on harvesting the desert crop !Nara for survival.
They, however, have concession rights to control, protect and conserve the !Nara plants, Topnaar graves and historical homesteads, through which they charge tourists for additional income.
Van Rooyen said the womens network also used the opportunity to talk to the schoolchildren about issues such as gender-based violence, the negative impact of theft, assault, crimen injuria, bullying and teasing.
The officer said the groups aim is to establish positive relations between the police, school and the Topnaar community.
We want to contribute to a safe and supportive learning environment for the learners who are far away from their beloved families.
She said the school management and learners were impressed with the visit.
One teacher confessed that she only knew the negative issues police deal with and could not believe seeing female police officers giving to the needy.
The school accommodates children from across Namibia, and currently has 286 learners in grades 1 to 7 of which 133 are girls.
The network aims to address women empowerment as well as gender equality in the force.