Menstrual Hygiene Initiative in schools – First Lady Pushes

Written by on February 28, 2024

H.E. First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali continues to forge ahead on her mission to end period poverty in Guyana. Since its inception in 2021, the Office of the First Lady’s Menstrual Hygiene Initiative has provided approximately 32,000 female students per year with sanitary napkins. This initiative seeks to supply school-aged girls across the country with free sanitary pads and empower women and girls with information on menstruation and menstrual hygiene.

“Whatever we can do to keep our girls in school, we are willing to do that.”

– First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking with EdYou FM on the effectiveness of the initiative thus far, Mrs. Ali stated that the girls have been responding “extremely well” and that “this project has impacted many lives.” She further stated that “this initiative has moved Guyana”, as companies and individuals have been unrelenting in their support for the Menstrual Hygiene Initiative. The First Lady recognises that period poverty hinders girls in vulnerable communities from receiving quality education. Thus, Her Excellency reiterated her unwavering commitment to supporting female students during this phase of their lives.

 

Dr. Kimberly Manbodh, Peer Educator, Ministry of Health- Adolescent Health Unit, Founder Cysterhood Support-Guyana, speaks with Carlene Samuel.

“Have the conversations. Don’t make it uncomfortable.”

– Dr. Kimberly Manbodh

According to Dr. Kimberly Manbodh, this initiative is important because it directly addresses the taboo which still surrounds the topic of menstruation. Moreover, even though menstruation is something that women experience, men too can benefit from menstrual education as it will help them to be better fathers and husbands. Therefore, Dr. Manbodh encourages everyone to support this initiative by equipping yourselves with the necessary information to better understand menstruation and remove the shame and stigma which surrounds it.

 

Truths about Menstruation Periodt!

 

●  Having your period does not mean that you are ready for marriage. It is a natural health occurrence that women experience.

●  Having your period does not mean that you are unclean.

●  Although women may experience varying period symptoms, having a period does not inherently prevent you from swimming, playing sports, working, travelling and living your life.

 

Theatre as a Tool for Social Change

National Drama Company production cast and crew

To further raise awareness about Menstrual Hygiene, the First Lady commissioned the National Drama Company (NDC) to produce a play. The play was written by NDC’s Director, Al Creighton. According to Creighton, the production demonstrates the extent to which period stigma affects young women, especially those living in and coming from remote hinterland communities where menstrual products are scarce and, worse, harmful myths surrounding menstruation persist.

Al Creighton- Director National Drama Company

Creighton explained that theatre can inform people, destroy myths, correct errors and shift thinking. For this reason, he hopes that this play was able to inform the audience and destroy pernicious myths regarding women and menstruation.

Story by: Carlene Samuel – Broadcaster & Producer EDYOU FM


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