Young girls in rural communities can face unique challenges – battling to maintain their self-esteem and dignity should not be one of them. In some areas of South Africa, recent research suggests up to 30% of girls do not attend school during menstruation because sanitary pads are simply too expensive compared to other household needs. Throughout a girl’s school years, this can add up to more than 500 days of missed learning. The Transnet Teenage Health Program (THP) is working to address this problem. Through awareness, education, and mentoring about feminine health and hygiene, the program is enabling teenage girls in South Africa’s poorest communities to embrace their femininity and enhance their dignity. Cynthia Chishimba, who participated in a United States Government-sponsored management leadership program in 2008, runs the Transnet THP in North West Province, and she met with U.S. Consul General Earl Miller on a recent trip to Mafikeng. Consul General Miller said, “The work being done by Cynthia and the her team of young student THP Champions is very important and valuable. It directly addresses a real need and helps young women stay in school and have a better chance at a brighter future.” For more information on the program, look here.