Her Excellency Madam Fatima Maada Bio on Friday 26th February 2021 took the free sanitary pads distribution to Bombali District. Welcoming the First Lady and her guests, the Paramount Chief of Bombali Sebora chiefdom, P.C Bai Sebora Kasangnait said the sanitary pads distribution is an historic event. He said it was in Bombali the ‘𝗛𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗢𝗳𝗳 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀’ (HOOG) national campaign tour started. He applauded her Excellency for her laudable venture as she has been all over the country ensuring that the Free Sanitary Pads reaches her girls.
The Mayor of Makeni City Mrs. Sunkarie Kamara while addressing dignitaries and pupils at the Makeni stadium, welcomed H.E the First Lady to the soil of Bombali, adding that a year ago, she was there to roll out her prestigious HOOG program for which she received overwhelming support from the people of Makeni.
The Mayor stated, that they have started witnessing the benefits of the project, while mentioning that the HOOG initiative is not only limited to advocating against men raping girls but to attend to the silent emergencies of girls, which is menstruation. She added that it is a must that girls be given an opportunity to go to school, stays in school, and complete school, as that is what the campaign stands for, and urge other development partners to emulate Her Excellency’s example.
Deputy Director of Education in Bombali described himself as a happy man because, the issue of menstruation has been a big challenge, as it has been keeping girls out of school but with the initiative, he believes there will be an increase in enrolment, retention, and completion, while he appreciates the effort of the First Lady as a mother who cares for all children irrespective of the political background or affiliation.
The principal of the Magburaka Government Secondary School Mrs. Kamara said, they are proud and honoured to have Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio in their midst, adding that it the second time they are receiving her. She expressed unreserved appreciation to the First Lady for her relentless work for girls in the country, which according to her is investing in the future of our children.
One of the principals of the schools described the First Lady as a woman loved by many for her generosity, while thanking her on behalf of the entire school for giving their school the opportunity to be among the first recipients of the free sanitary pad in the district.
CEO of the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation, Mrs Samba in her statement said, she stands as a proud woman to witness such historic event, adding that the foundation has been working on the empowerment of girls for years and continue to reach out to more girls in Sierra Leone through the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ campaign.
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, expressed her appreciation to the people of Bombali as the ‘Hands off our girls’ campaign started in the district.
The First Lady mentioned that, menstruation is natural perquisite for every teenage girl, hence should not ashamed of. “Menstruation is not a choice, so girls do not need to be ashamed of it, because it is not a crime,” Madam Fatima told the girls.
She admonished them to focus on their education and say “No” to Early Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy. She emphasized that sex is inevitable but it is more safer to have sex at the right time, while urging the girls that sex should not be their priority while in school, but rather girls should focus on their education, as with the education they are assured a promising future.
The First Lady reiterated that the issue of menstruation is not a choice for young girls who have reached puberty, but a natural process that is part of womanhood, as over the years the situation has been used to victimize school girls who experience their menstrual period during school hour. She furthered that there are stories of girls being ask to go home during school simply because they experience their monthly menstruation in school and soil their uniforms. For most girls, sanitary pad is a luxury they can’t afford, most prefer staying at home where they feel safe to handle their menstruation.
To combat our girls missing school for a considerable time and allow our girls take full advantage of the free education, is one of the reasons First Lady Fatima Maada Bio, took on this initiative.
Strategic Communication Division
Office of The First Lady
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