— period poverty must not deprive girls of their right to education, says First Lady
— as Menstrual Hygiene Initiative launched in Regions Three, Four and Five
FIRST Lady Arya Ali spearheaded the launch of the Menstrual Hygiene Initiative across Regions Three, Four and Region Five on Friday as she continues her efforts to end period poverty across Guyana,
The First Lady during her address to the girls at the West Demerara Secondary School in Region Three; President’s College in Region Four and the Bush Lot Secondary School in Region Five, said the aim of the initiative is to ensure that no adolescent girl is deprived of her right to education because of period poverty.
“Last year I made a commitment to all girls in this country that I will do everything within my power to ensure that they were given equal opportunity to realise their potential,” the First Lady Ali said.
She further stated that the project is more than just the distribution of sanitary products, but one that is geared towards the empowerment of girls across the country.
Additionally, the First Lady disclosed that her office is currently strategising a plan to ensure that the Menstrual Hygiene Project will be an initiative that will see girls across Guyana being provided with a yearly supply of sanitary pads.
“These supplies will last for one year and we are currently working on a strategic plan to ensure that every year sanitary pads are distributed to girls in public schools free of cost,” she said, adding: “Minister Manickchand and I have already travelled to four regions to start the distribution there and talk to our girls about their menstrual health and we will continue to [do] so until we cover all 10 administrative regions.”
Meanwhile, Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who was also present at the launching ceremonies, charged the young women to extend a hand of gratitude to other young girls who may not be fortunate enough to afford the luxury of having a regular supply of sanitary pads or tampons.
“Multiply this goodness that the First Lady is doing by giving it to someone you know who doesn’t have; sending it to [a] region that does not have; sending it into the riverine communities; giving it to one of your friends in the classroom without telling the whole world,” she said.
The minister further reiterated that the aim of the project is to ensure that the delivery of education to adolescent girls is not hindered by their menstrual cycle.
Additionally, Minister Manickchand encouraged girls to not feel ashamed of their bodies and the natural cycle that is their menstruation.
Since the official launch of the initiative, the First Lady has distributed sanitary packages to girls in six of the 10 administrative regions.
This project was funded by donations and several fundraisers that were held by the First Lady’s Office.