A Non-governmental Organisation, (NGO), Hope and Dreams Initiative (HDI) has donated some educational materials to schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while sensitising pupils on the importance of menstrual hygiene in schools and environs.
Mrs Nguzo Ogbodo, Founder of the organisation while sensitising the pupils in Abuja on Monday said statistic showed that one million missed schools everyday because of access to sanitary pad.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NGO recently donated a WASH library to the Local Education Authority (LEA) school in Aleyita opened for both the students of the school and the residents of the community.
According to her, there was need for stakeholders to get involved by providing the basic things that will enable children remain in school.
“ Globally, May was International Hygiene Month and the reason why we choose menstral hygiene is to create awareness of the importance of educating them about the plight that young girls all over the world is going through because of non access to sanitary pad.
“ Statistically, UNICEF said that one million misses school everyday because they don’t have access to sanitary pad and it is not just the sanitary pad but also wash facilities.
“ When they don’t have access to toilets and hand washing basin, no matter if you have the product you are still not clean.
“So that is what Hope and Dreams Initiative is doing in all the schools. We are working by providing girls with sanitary pads, creating libraries in schools, building toilets, building hand washing stations.
“ And our aim is to ensure that one child leaves the school not only learning how to read but there should be behavioral change in the child.”
Ogbodo therefore called on the Federal Government to get actively involved in ensuring that every female students apart from getting free education also have access to sanitary materials to aid their learning.
She also appealed to the government to improve more on the security apparatus of the country so that children would be safe in schools.
“I am also calling on the government because the non/governmental organisations cannot do all the work, so I am calling on the government to get involved.
“ There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a bending sanitary machine in each school, there is no reason why a child should not have access to sanitary pad and also education.
“They said their is free education but I don’t think it is because I work with over 20 schools, over 20 communities and I go into classrooms.
“There are no roof and I keep asking are these children having education so the government should do more.
“They should work on security also because without securing the lives of people, I don’t think they can go to school,” she said.
Also, Mr Jonathan Mazawaje, one of the community dwellers commended the organisation for donating the school library saying that the facility had been put into effective use.
“ The library is very effective and the children are making use of it wisely and there is a change for those who have been going to the library,” he said.
Some of the students who spoke to NAN thanked the organiser for bringing awareness of safer menstrual hygiene to the doorstep of the school, saying many students were not knowledgeable about the topic.
Mary Audu, a 12-year-old pupil of LEA Primary School, Goza who started menstruating at age 11 said she was able to cope with her studies during her menstrual period.
“I started menstration at 11 years.I take my bath, take care of my body. I have pain in my stomach and waist when the pain comes.
“ I sleep in class when I am in my period and my teacher ask me why I am sleeping it and I will say I am having stomach pain, “she said.
Also, Josephine Sunday, a 15 year-old pupil of LEA Aleyita said she was sensitised about menstrual hygiene by the organisation when they visited the school three years ago.
Sunday, who said that she sometimes feel pain in class when her period start noted that she was however able to cope with the help of her teachers.
Schools who participated in the sensitisation include LEA Primary school in Aleyita, Goza, Chika, Kapwa, Kuchingoro and Piwoyi.