Young Izah saves goals to ensure no girls miss school
Izah Roux, a 13-year-old learner at Durban Prep (DPHS) in KwaZulu-Natal, is on a mission to make a difference.
After recently learning about puberty at school, he realised that several of his female school friends were forced to miss school days during their monthly menstrual cycles.
A boy with an inquiring mind, Izah confesses to having “a ton of questions for my mom.”
Upon learning that access to sanitary pads in many cases determined whether girls made it school or not, he was determined to do something about it.
“I don't like staying at home for anything and knew I needed to do something to help other kids’” reflects Izah.
“I’m also the kind of person that dreams about changing the world, so I believe in showing people kindness and trying to really understand other people's problems.”
After chatting to his mother, Izah and his brother Akani did a Sanitary Drive for St Augustine School for girls.
“We managed to collect 500 packs of pads, but I knew I wanted to do even more,” enthuses Izah.
As a talented sportsman and goalie on his school water polo team, Izah sensed an opportunity.
“With the 37th national South African College High School (SACS) water polo tournament approaching in October, I pledged ten packs of sanitary pads for every goal I saved during the tournament.”
By the end of the tournament, Izah had saved 48 goals!
Engen, who are a long-standing supporter of the Imbumba Foundation’s Caring4Girls feminine hygiene initiative, were inspired by the young goalie’s actions, pledging to match what he raised.
According to Khalid Latiff, Engen's General Manager: Corporate Strategy & Communications, the company was deeply moved to hear about Izah’s pledge to ensure that no girls miss school due to their menstrual cycles.
“By advocating for girls in this way, Izah is truly being the change he wants to see in the world,” says Latiff.
Inspired to help, Engen partnered with Caring4Girls and donated a one-year’s supply of sanitary pads to all 268 grade 4-7 learners at Rippon Primary school in Durban.
“As Engen, we are humbled to play a small role supporting Izah’s initiative,” continues Latiff.
“As a company we believe in the power of education to uplift marginalised sections of our society because a country which is educated is a country that will prosper.
Over the past four years Engen has pledged R3.5 million to Caring4Girls, with approximately 24 065 female learners receiving support to date, across all nine South African provinces.
Research shows that underprivileged girls miss up to 50 days of school per year due to inaccessible feminine hygiene care.
According to a Harvard Business Review article entitled: How Men Can Become Better Allies To Women, when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of organizations see progress — compared to only 30% of organizations where men are not engaged.
“We cannot thrive as a society if some of our female learners are left behind because they are unable to attend school due to feminine hygiene issues, which is why we are proud to partner with Izah and the Imbumba Foundation and contribute to this meaningful initiative,” adds Latiff.
Imbumba Foundation CEO, Richard Mabaso says the Caring4Girls programme creates a voice for girls in addition to distributing sanitary materials.
“Caring4Girls also provides health education on puberty and adolescence, to demystify menstrual related myths and break down societal taboos, whilst promoting positive body literacy and autonomy, as well as gender equality.”
Mabaso acknowledged Engen for its compassion for young girls and thanked them for once again for making a generous contribution towards the initiative.
Continues Mabaso: “Engen really is a brand that steps up where it matters and truly cares about the less fortunate.”
As a company, Engen champions the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and SDG 5 – Gender Equality, which aims to end gender inequality through actions that eliminate discrimination that curtail women’s rights in both the private and public spheres.
Comments Latiff: “Engen is keenly aware that access to quality education and gender equality is everybody’s business, and that it owes it to its employees, customers, and broader society to make every effort to drive positive change.
“This is why Engen is so passionate about Caring4Girls because it helps uplift and empower female learners.
Caring4Girls is endorsed by the Department of Basic Education.
The programme focuses on education and training on puberty and menstrual hygiene management, and includes the safe and environmentally responsible handling, usage and disposal of sanitary towels.