Gospel star Betusile Mcinga saves girls period blues

Betusile Mcinga shows the brand of sanitary pads he co-founded to help girls not to miss school when on periods. / SUPPLIED
Betusile Mcinga shows the brand of sanitary pads he co-founded to help girls not to miss school when on periods. / SUPPLIED

Gospel artist Betusile Mcinga is creating his own sanitary towels which are currently being distributed to about 50 rural schools free of charge.

Mcinga, through his foundation Betusile Mcinga Foundation, a non-profit company, has been distributing the sanitary towels across the Eastern Cape since last year.

He told Sowetan that the idea came as he found out that many girls from rural areas often missed school when on their periods.

"I formed the foundation in 2016 and our focus was on giving sanitary pads to rural schools and at the same time supply them with school uniforms and shoes," Mcinga said.

He said he was then inspired to start his own brand of sanitary towels as the pads they bought did not come cheap.

"We also had a number of schools calling the foundation seeking help, which left a dent in our pockets because we had no donors."

Mcinga added: "We decided to negotiate with companies that manufacture pads to design a pad that would be suitable for school children and would cost us less (money) so that we could reach the thousands of pupils who can't afford to buy them."

He and business partner Siyabulela Mtselu founded their own brand called Geliswa, derived from township slang for "a girl".

"Geliswa pads are completely free and not meant to be sold. We work with different ward councillors who also provide us with the names of the pupils who need pads," Mtselu said. He said though their pads were ultra light, with wings, they had a higher absorption rate.

"We seek a partnership with Eastern Cape departments of social development and education. We have already made presentation to the companies that are bidding for the social development tender to provide sanitary pads at schools for the next coming nine months."

Mtselu said the department has about 38,141 girls in their database in the province.

"Some of the companies were impressed by our sanitary towels and we are hoping to supply a portion of those sanitary pads, with each girl receiving 144 pads in a nine- month schooling circle. That does not mean we will turn our back on the schools that we have been working with."

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