Since several years, Imerys Refractory Minerals implements education programs, supports agricultural cooperatives and modernizes infrastructures to improve life standards of its employee’s communities.
Late 2015 Imerys South Africa started partnership with The Peace Agency to fund locally produced Subz Pads packs of washable sanitary pads and underwear to fight against absenteeism and drop-outs of girls in high school living close to Imerys Annesley mine in the Limpopo province. It appears that 60 %+ of girls in South Africa miss 18 months (out of 5 years) of high school due to not having access to sanitary products.
Xolisa Mvinjelwa, Executive Director for Ethics & Transformation, explains “The villages around our mine are made up of poor communities with high unemployment and low levels of education. Families depend on grants and parents are unable to afford these sanitary pads.”
This action is beneficial to both, Imerys employees and the girls. Together with NGO representatives, Imerys employees distribute these reusable pads and take the occasion to talk to the girls about health and hygiene issues during their visits, thus tying bonds.
In 2016 the initiative was repeated and extended to other schools. Schools’ principals and staff observe a lower rate of absenteeism and drop-outs. Furthermore they feel that the girls have more confidence in themselves which enhances the level of creativity in the classroom.