A young KwaZulu-Natal woman says she never thought remaining a virgin would open so many doors for her.
The 22-year-old from Estcourt, a farming town in the UThukela district, was one of 16 women who received bursaries from the district municipality because they were still virgins.
The Maidens Bursary Award aims to encourage young women to stay sexually inactive and focus on their education.
The second-year pharmacy student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape, who asked not to be named, said she approached the municipality last year because her family did not have money to pay her tuition fees.
When she heard about the municipality's Maidens Bursaries this year, she applied and received one.
"They asked me if I was a virgin and if I tested regularly and I said yes. I am proud to be a virgin, I did not know it could open so many doors for me. I did not know I could get something out of it."
She said she got tested during the June and the December holidays, when she went home.
The test involves lying on a grass mat for an elderly woman to examine her.
She said she did not mind doing regular tests.
"My father has two wives and he is already struggling to cope. There are three of us at home. This motivates me to do well and give back at home. When I finish my studies I am going to give back by helping other pupils in my hometown."
She warned girls that falling pregnant prematurely would ruin their lives. They should put their education first.
"This has helped me pay for my outstanding fees and I will be able to continue with my third year and get my degree."
She encouraged other women to apply for the financial assistance.
"Young girls should take control of their lives and it is never too late to change their lives for the better and make a success out of it."
Another recipient, 19, said she was studying at the University of Free State with the help of the bursary.
By Amanda Khoza, News24
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