South32 Hillside Aluminium smelter (Richards Bay, KwaZulu Natal) has partnered with Blossom Care Solutions to establish a small sanitary pad factory that will assist local schoolgirls and young women in the fight against period poverty, while also setting up a business supply chain within the area that will begin growing other small commercial enterprises.
Shockingly, period poverty – which refers to the financial inability to afford sanitary products – affects millions of young girls and women around the world every day. In South Africa, a study has found that an estimated 30 percent of girls do not attend school while they are menstruating because they cannot afford sanitary products .
Sarlie explains: “Blossom Care Solutions exists to increase access to sanitary pads amongst schoolgirls and women in township and rural markets, and to simultaneously create jobs for young women between the ages of 18-34, via a deliberate women-centred approach.”
South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company producing bauxite, alumina, aluminium, energy and metallurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc in Australia, southern Africa and South America, operating locally from Richards Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Vice President of Operations for Hillside Aluminium (South32), Calvin Mkhabela, is supportive of this initiative. “We have a clear purpose, and that’s to make a difference and improve people’s lives now and for generations to come. We are pleased to sponsor this youth development programme as it not only empowers and equips young people but it also alleviates the hygiene challenges at our local schools. Over the coming months, we look forward to sharing more milestones as an active partner in this collaboration.”
“In carrying out our stated objectives, we focus on our people, our profit and our planet,” clarifies Sarlie. “The initiative with South32 represents our third production facility set up during 2021, with more to follow.”