─ as First Lady launches “Menstrual Hygiene Programme”
Some 1,168 secondary school girls on Tuesday received one year’s supply of sanitary napkins, when First Lady, Her Excellency Arya Ali launched the “Menstrual Hygiene Programme” at the Bartica Secondary school in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
Mrs. Ali was accompanied by Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, MP, who is partnering with the First Lady to distribute sanitary products to female students across the country.
The First Lady told students that the launch of the initiative is to end period poverty, as it leads to school drop-outs and many other issues.
“Last year when I heard that girls were forced to drop out of school in Guyana because they did not have sanitary pads to use when experiencing their menstruation or their period my heart broke.
“At no point in your lives should you be forced to choose between having an education and staying home because you don’t have access to sanitary products,” the First Lady said.
Mrs. Ali also said the “life changing mission” will continue across the country to tackle the issue and bring comfort to young girls.
Meanwhile, Minister Manickchand said period poverty is one of the issues that interferes with gender equality, since many opportunities are taken away from girls during their period.
“These are the small things that we don’t talk about that interfere with the equality the world is trying to achieve, if we have to take away five to seven, sometimes longer, because that’s what happens with our bodies and hormones behaving badly and so on, days from your life every month, then you don’t have the same opportunities to shine, to grow, to learn,” the education minister said.
She also encouraged female students at the Bartica Secondary school to speak out about issues that affect them, especially menstrual poverty and health.
“Any effort to shine a light on the issue of menstruation and how we can provide for persons who can’t provide for themselves is a noble one,” Minister Manickchand told students at the ceremony.
Additionally, prior to her arrival, the education minister distributed a number of packages under the theme, “investing in quality early childhood education for sustainable Lifelong learning,” to the Beach View Nursery and St. John the Baptist Nursery schools. These packages will provide necessary school supplies to the nursery students to aid their educational development.