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Tutu Foundation helps prevent millions of girls from missing school each month

By: stagedoorscribbler - July 9, 2018

Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu. Photo by Hattie Miles

It’s estimated that three million girls across South Africa miss school each month because they cannot afford to buy sanitary protection. 

Now the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation is supporting a special Bikers for Mandela Day and its associated Nelson Foundation initiative to supply sanitary pads to girls for whom menstruation means missing out on vital education.

The focal points of the Keep a Girl Child in School project will be a pair of mass motorbike rallies, in Cape Town on 14 July and Johannesburg on 15 July, to which bikers riding motorbikes of all shapes and sizes will deliver sanitary pads.

Programmes director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation Ms Razaan Bailey said the incongruous idea of bikers collecting sanitary pads for girls strongly echoed Nelson Mandela’s special ability to connect people and communities.

Bikers for Mandela Day was started by former President Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, in 2010 and has become an annual tradition. 

This year’s commemoration of Mandela Day (on 18 July) not only celebrates Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary 67 years of service to his people but also the 100th anniversary of his birth. 

The Cape Town rally, backed by the City of Cape Town, will assemble on the Grand Parade from 8am next Saturday (14th July) and make its way to Paarl, where the ride will conclude outside the Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison) from which Nelson Mandela walked to freedom in 1990.

In Johannesburg the following day (Sunday 15th July), bikers will gather at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton before riding to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Riders can register for either rally, free of charge, at Participants are asked to bring one pack of sanitary pads – or as many as they can afford or carry – for the ride. All the products donated will be distributed amongst underprivileged girls by Bikers for Mandela Day project partner, Mimi Women - a proudly South African organisation that makes, sells and distributes sanitary pads. Representatives from the company will also be selling pads at both the Cape Town and Johannesburg events.

 For those unable to join the physical events, a crowdfunding page has been created in support of Mimi Women. To donate visit

You can also follow proceedings on Twitter, @Bikers4MandelaD, and Instagram, @BikersforMandelaDay.