Empowerment: ROTARY TACKLES PERIOD POVERTY, TRAINS 2,000 GIRLS ON PRODUCTION OF REUSABLE PADS

The Rotary International District 9141 says it is focused on training over two thousand young girls and women through its empowerment initiative by the end of the 2021/2022 Rotary year.

The Rotary International District 9141, lead, Ibim Seminitari said this at the second batch of the District’s Pad-A-Girl Empowerment training Project, at the Holy Rosary Girls’ Collage, jointly sponsored by the District and about fifty Rotary clubs in Port Harcourt.

She said the focus of the project is aimed at tackling Period Poverty among the girl-child and empowering young girls and women to be economically independent after the training program.

“There is a known problem of period poverty among young girls in this region. You will be shocked that there a many young girls who can’t afford a pad during their menstrual cycle. Some of these young girls have to do all kinds of unprintable things just to be able to afford a pad for their menstruations. Secondly, all over the world there is a growing consensus that reusable pads are more efficient and environmental friendly and better off.

Ibim Seminitari who is also the Rotary International Assistant Public Image Coordinator zone 22 and past Assistant Governor in the district aq said the girls trained are expected to empower others with their new skills and create a community of economically independent women and addressing the issue of period poverty.

“And so the Rotary International district 9141 is trying to address the problem of period poverty, because we believe when we train these young girls, the idea is they will in turn train other girls. We are training 2000 girls all over the district, so that at the end of the Rotary year 2021/2022 over twenty thousand girls would have been trained. Secondly, there are people who are making money from reusable pads, at the end of the training, sewing machines will be given out to the best students, so that they can start an entirely business line, so this is also an economic empowerment as well as sanitation and hygiene. So these are what the District 9141 is set to achieve”, she said.

On her part, Principal of the Holy Rosary Girls’ Collage, Barrister Mrs Veronica Efika described the training by the Rotary clubs in Rivers State as timely.

She said the training will educate young school girls who experience difficulties in managing their periods at home, at school, or at work, perhaps most critically, give them more information about menstruation.

“I’m more than excited to host this training program in this school. This is a training the young girls can’t get for free anywhere, but the Rotary International district 9141 gave to them on a platter of gold. At the end of the day, these young girls will go into the world well empowered and trained, I’m proud of Rotary with their life impacting projects”, she said. 

On his part, President of the Rotary Club of Rumuomasi, Dickson Ofonmbuk Usen remarked that “The hygiene part of the training and lectures is apt and timely. Because some of these girls don’t know how to take good care of themselves during their menstrual cycle, some are yet to see their period for the first time, so this will go a long way to introduce them to how to take good care of themselves hygienically.”.

President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie said “Creating an environment where menstruation is seen as healthy and normal and where girls and women have easy access to products as well as the infrastructure to manage their periods will increase girls’ ability to realize their full potential and take a few strides closer to gender equality,”

Grace Ella, New Generation Chair, of the Rotary Club of PH Sea Port also said “Women spend so much money on pads during their menstrual cycle. This can be managed properly, so my club partnered with other clubs in this project to teach the girl child how to produce reusable pads so that to cut cost and be economically independent by selling them also. This is part of what Rotary does: empowering people to be independent”.

The President of the Rotary Club of PH Spring Gardens Ajoke H.Enebeli remarked that “To achieve maximum benefit, the training has also been extended to parents, which is critical in passing on basic knowledge and information about menstrual hygiene management, including how parents can help support their daughters in managing menstrual symptoms such as pains.

On her part, President of the Rotary Club of Rumuogba-Golden, Tonia Osugba explained that “the training has tackled the high cost of menstrual hygiene products which often leads girls to exchange sex for money to buy them, exposing the girls to risks such as early unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

President of the Rotary Club of PH City Valley, Nomso Ogbuefi while commending the high turnout of young girls and women at the training said “ a girl’s plight doesn’t change until attitudes do, so the gesture by our various clubs has developed a training manual to help teachers and other stakeholders promote menstrual health management within the school setting and in their communities; Rotarians and their partners are helping disseminate the information”.

Rotarian Emem Okon, President of the Rotary club of PH Eco and women activist, said “creating opportunities for girls that enhance their education, safety, health, and well-being has the power to transform their futures and also to transform their families and communities,”

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