Deputy minister in the Presidency Mr Buti Manamela is changing the lives of girl children, one marathon at a time.
Mr Manamela recently ran the Sarens Edenvale Marathon to raise awareness of the plight faced by the girl child in rural communities.
He opted for the 21km run.
His special advisor, Ms Florence Masebe, said for every kilometre Mr Manamela ran, he received a donation of 1 000 packs of sanitary towels.
“Every marathon he runs will supply 1 750 girls per year with sanitary towels,” said Ms Masebe.
“The deputy minister has made a commitment to run a marathon every weekend to raise enough pads to last the girls a whole year,” said Ms Masebe.
Mr Manamela said he is passionate about matters that concern the country’s young people.
“Instead of just donating money for sanitary towels, I decided to put my body where my mouth is and run for girls under the #Running4Girls campaign. I work closely with the Caring4Girls initiative to make sure the pads are collected and distributed where great need exists,” said Mr Manamela.
He said he believes that no child should ever go to school barefooted and no girl child should have to stay away from school because of the lack of sanitary towels during her period.
Mr Manamela is a member of the Old Mutual Running Club.
Ms Masebe said the number of pads doubles if the marathon run is an Old Mutual marathon.
Mr Manamela challenged members of the public to also do their bit to raise awareness of the plight that girls are faced with on a monthly basis.
In 2017 alone, he has run 10 marathons.
Mr Manamela said he has always been a believer that although government can only do so much, its people can make a difference if they come together.
He said conversations are taking place at government level about supplying girls with sanitary towels.
“In the meantime, as we try and push for policies, we must mobilise society to do something,” said Mr Manamela.
Asked what his message is to the beneficiaries of the sanitary towels, Mr Manamela said they should know that he cares.
“They must know that I value their education and my contribution is for them to stay in school and change their lives. I would also like them to know that as much as they are not paying for it, they must know that it’s not free. It would make me happy if they too, can carry someone else,” said Mr Manamela.
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