Ready for climb of life­time to aid im­pov­er­ished school­girls

North West woman joins #Trek4Man­dela to raise funds to pur­chase san­i­tary pads

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TE­BOGO MONAMA

THEMBI Hatang knows first hand the pain of not hav­ing san­i­tary pads and, as a re­sult, she does not want to see an­other gen­er­a­tion of girls strug­gle.

Hatang grew up as one of four girls in the North West and says it was a strug­gle for her fam­ily to buy san­i­tary pads for them.

“My mother was a do­mes­tic worker and my fa­ther a bus driver. They could only buy enough for us to share.

“We only used the pads when go­ing to school, and when at home, we had to make other means like us­ing cloths.”

It is be­cause of this that Hatang felt it was im­por­tant to join the Trek4Man­dela ex­pe­di­tion to climb Africa’s high­est peak, Mount Kil­i­man­jaro, in an ef­fort to raise funds for school­girls.

Hatang said she al­ways liked do­ing char­ity work in com­mu­ni­ties but never thought she would have to go up a moun­tain to do it.

In 2015 her hus­band, Sello, Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion’s CEO, tried to con­vince her to go on the ex­pe­di­tion with him but she re­fused.

“He wanted me to go with him but I told him he can do his crazy things on his own. But in 2016 when Gugu [Zulu] died try­ing to raise funds for girls, I said ‘why can’t I do it?’

“He pushed me to say that if I want to see change, it must start from me.”

She said she re­alises her 15-year-old daugh­ter is lucky to not face the same prob­lems as her peers. “I have a daugh­ter and al­though she does not have to worry about us af­ford­ing [san­i­tary tow­els], I want the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for other girls. I know how it is like to not have and I need to make a dif­fer­ence wher­ever I can,” she said.

Hatang, who is cur­rently study­ing for a post-grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in Ed­u­ca­tion with the ul­ti­mate goal of be­ing an ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist, said: “There is al­ways a lot of in­equal­ity in schools and I don’t want san­i­tary pads to be an­other bar­rier. At the school where I teach at right now, the chil­dren have to deal with so many things. There is high un­em­ploy­ment rates in the com­mu­nity, they don’t have all the re­sources they need to suc­ceed in school so san­i­tary pads have to be one less bar­rier.”

Dur­ing her spare time, Hatang vol­un­teers at Golang Ed­u­ca­tion Out­reach where she is also a board mem­ber. The out­reach is based in the Emthon­jeni Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Honey­dew, mainly serv­ing the Zand­spruit in­for­mal set­tle­ment com­mu­nity and of­fers sup­port to chil­dren as young as three.

I want the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for other girls

Hatang is rais­ing funds for her old school Tswelelopele High School in It­soseng, North West and the school where she teaches, Zand­spruit Pri­mary.

Thembi Hatang will climb Mount Kil­i­man­jaro next week.

TRAIN­ING: Thembi Hatang prac­tis­ing on the stairs to keep fit in time for the high­est peak trek.

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