Press release statement
Submitted by: The Department of Marketing & Communications
Via email: Hlophe@mut.ac.za
9 June 2022
MUT and three non-profit organisations dedicate resources to fight GBV and food insecurity during Youth Month
Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) will collaborate with various partners to highlight the plight of youth studying at the University and to provide relief as part of the University’s Youth Month activities. These NPOs are Gift of the Givers, Mina Foundation and Khanyisa Imitha Development Centre. Vodacom is the only corporate that will sponsor these activities.
The aim of this collaboration is to raise awareness on challenges faced by the youth of today. While in the pre-democratic Republic of South Africa challenges focused on access and discrimination in higher education, today, the youth who have been given access through National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding, face more challenges such as food insecurity, access to data, and Gender-Based-Violence (GBV).
To amplify these challenges, MUT is joining forces with its radio station, MUT Radio, to give a voice on how GBV is subtly conducted in the guise of withholding resources. Mina Foundation will address this issue by educating girls on sustainable sanitary products to enable them not to depend on men for support during their cycles. Zaakira Dilmi, Chief Executive Officer of Mina Foundation will address the issue of young menstruators having to miss school owing to their lack of access to menstrual products.
Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communication at MUT said the focus on sanitary cups and towels stemmed from knowing that GBV encompasses denial of resources.
Mkhize said: “Our view of GBV should be broad enough to include structural ways in which women have to pay a hefty price for being born female while their male counterparts are exempt from this gender tax. For many South African women, the reality is that both sanitary pads and cups are often too expensive for their reach, which often means being at the mercy of their male counterparts to buy these products. This is dehumanising and heart-breaking; more so when a university student cannot attend class because of ‘period poverty’.”
Supporting this initiative is also a former MUT student, Nkululeko Mthembu, a businessman who is also the founder of Khanyisa Imitha Development Centre. He has already procured toiletries for 200 female students to bring dignity into their lifestyle.
With MUT Radio celebrating its first birthday, it will play a huge role in drawing students not only from MUT to participate in debates surrounding GBV, but it will also draw attention to the plight of students who face food insecurity. The University has these students covered.
“No student should go to class hungry. We will be launching a Pantry to allow students to have at least one decent meal a day,” said Gift of the Givers’ Muhammad Sooliman, director of operations. He has been at the forefront of providing humanitarian aid relief at MUT since the 2018 floods.
Noting the data challenges that students also face, Vodacom will run a series of campaigns to allow MUT students an opportunity to win meaningful prizes as they celebrate Youth Month. Gift of the Givers has also made a substantial contribution by replacing desktops at one of MUT’s Computer Laboratory. These desktops were damaged during the floods.