Over 30,000 school girls to benefit as First Lady begins distribution of sanitary pads

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More than 30,000 girls from secondary schools across Guyana are set to benefit as the distribution of sanitary pads through the First Lady’s Menstrual Hygiene Initiative has begun.

Thus far, the Regional Education Department in Regions One (Barima – Waini), Five (Demerara – Mahaica), Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara – Berbice) were provided with one-year supply of sanitary pads for each secondary school girl within the regions, and distribution has commenced.

This is according to a press release from the Office of the First Lady on Thursday, which also noted that the remaining administrative regions will receive their allocation over the next few months.

The schools have prepared a register that each student will be required to sign when uplifting their sanitary pads in an effort to strengthen the accounting procedure involved in the distribution and to ensure that every girl child in need benefits from this programme, the release noted.

“Investing in interventions to empower girls to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without stigma, so that they continue to attend and perform well in school once they start puberty isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it also makes economic sense,” First Lady Arya Ali is quoted as saying in the release.

“Investing in good menstrual hygiene management to enable women and girls to reach their full potential is a critical measure to build a nation’s human capital over time,” she added.

The First Lady noted that since the launch of the project, the support from partners has been overwhelming.

The project will continue on an annual basis and the First Lady also intends to provide coverage for women as part of her efforts to eradicate period poverty.

However, with limited funding, the First Lady is relying on donations and fundraisers to expand the coverage.

Just recently, the Office of the First Lady in partnership with Dilmah Tea hosted one such fundraiser – Chari-Tea – a tea party and fashion show, at State House in a bid to secure funding for the Menstrual Hygiene Initiative.

“Fundraisers like these are therefore very important to this aspect of the project because the funding received from government only provides partial coverage for our girls. Therefore, we rely heavily on these fundraising events, and donations to compensate for that shortfall,” she was quoted as saying.

The Government of Guyana has provided $50 million in the 2022 Budget towards this programme.

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