Vanessa Masilo is grateful for and proud of her success. Prompted by this, the businesswoman and Play Your Part ambassador wanted to give back to the community of Vredefort, where she grew up – and she elected to help girls stay in school by supplying them with sanitary towels.
Many underprivileged girls and young women in South Africa struggle to balance their education with the pressures of growing into womanhood and it is not uncommon for them to miss weeks of school because they cannot afford sanitary towels.
“For many of us, buying sanitary pads is as easy as buying bread and milk. But this is not the case for many young girls and women in South Africa,” said Masilo, the founder and general manager of Krystal Clear Vision.
To achieve her goal, Masilo enlisted the help of a number of different NGO and government organisations, such as Brand South Africa, the Free State government and the Ngwathe ANC Youth League and Women’s League.
Called the Pad Drive, funds were raised from donors in the various towns of the Ngwathe district. Sanitary towels were bought with the donations, and the partners gathered in Vredefort’s town hall on 2 November for their handover.
The Pad Drive had raised enough funds to supply five months’ worth of sanitary towels to each of the girls at the handover in the jam-packed hall, said Masilo. Through it, Masilo and partners hoped to restore some dignity to these girls and ensure that no child missed a day of school because of her sanitary needs.
“I don’t regret being a woman or being a mother, because I see the value of being a girl today,” said Ngwathe District Mayor Joey Mochela. “I want all of them to make the most out of Vanessa’s efforts and do their best in school. As elders it is our responsibility to make sure that this generation is better than us.”
MAKING A HABIT OF GIVING BACK
As a Play Your Part ambassador it is no surprise that the Pad Drive was not the first time Masilo and Krystal Clear Vision gave back to the community and make a telling difference in people’s lives.
She also helps to build fond memories of school for girls in Free State by lending good, second-hand dresses to girls in need so that they can attend their matric farewells. “I have dresses which I lend to less privileged girls annually and these dresses are worn at their matric farewells,” Masilo explained.
“After the matric farewell the dresses are returned to me and the next year other girls get to borrow the dresses so they rotate.
“I believe that at that stage of a learner’s life, all they should be worrying about and stressing about is their books and how they intend on performing and passing their matric exceptionally.”
In her capacity as managing director of Krystal Clear Vision, Masilo hopes to be a constant motivator for young girls and instil self confidence and attitude that would allow them “to face life’s challenges head on”.
“As a businesswoman and a product of the Free State, I asked myself how I could give back to my community. My dream is to see young people back in their communities saying ‘I’m going to make a difference.'”