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Sugar group partners with Trek4Mandela to tackle period poverty

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AS part of a partnership between Imbumba Foundation’s Trek4Mandela campaign and Illovo Sugar Africa, 418,000 sanitary towels will be distributed to girls so that they do not have to miss school due to a lack of sanitary products,

A group of 17 Illovo Sugar employees have been granted the opportunity of a lifetime to join an expedition to Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, all in support of the fight against period poverty. Among the climbers are Judith Munsami and Lunga Mthuli from Illovo’s South Africa operations in Eston and Noodsberg respectively.

The expedition, which was launched in Umhlanga on 9 May, is a partnership between Imbumba Foundation’s Trek4Mandela campaign and Illovo Sugar Africa, as well as their parent company ABF Sugar. It aims to raise funds to distribute 418,000 sanitary towels to 4 250 girls so that they do not have to miss school due to a lack of sanitary products.

In addition to South African employees, the group includes employees from Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, United Kingdom, and Rwanda. They will summit Kilimanjaro on 18 July, Madiba’s birthday.

Gavin Dalgleish, group managing director of Illovo Sugar Africa, said the partnership with Imbumba Foundation in its mission to make a difference in the lives of girls resonated with Illovo’s values. “This is more than climbing a mountain, this is being driven to hike for a cause that is bigger than yourself. I am a strong believer in education, and our efforts will mean that girls can go to school so that they can be empowered to break the cycle of poverty,” said Dalgleish.

Richard Mabasa, chief executive of Imbumba Foundation said Trek4Mandela was inspired by Madiba to remind people that there is always hope.

“When Mandela was in prison on Robben Island, Table Mountain represented freedom. For us, wherever you may be is your Robben Island, and Kilimanjaro is our goal and the inspiration to get to the summit is taking on a cause bigger than yourself,” said Mabaso, who established Trek4Mandela in 2012.  It’s grown to be an annual expedition and is led by renowned South African adventurer and motivational speaker, Sibusiso Vilane, the first black African to conquer the three Poles challenge: South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest.

The World Bank estimates that 500 million girls and women lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management, while the United Nations estimates that one in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle due to a lack of sanitary products.

Illovo Sugar South Africa employees are ready for the challenge.

Mthuli said: “No girl child should be without sanitary products. Madiba cared deeply about children, and this is a great way to support what he cared about.”

Munsami added that it was an honour to be part of the trek, saying: “We are privileged to be able to play a role in moving mountains for our communities, and in raising awareness about access to sanitary products, and collect pads for donation.”

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