The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Brigadier (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio has officially launched the Free Sanitary Pads Distribution Campaign – 2022; an initiative being spearheaded by the Office of the First Lady
The campaign was launched on Thursday June 2 2022 at the Auditorium of the New City Council Building in Freetown, in commemoration of the International Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The official launch was immediately followed by the distribution of hundreds of packs of hygienic sanitary pads to pupils from various secondary schools in Freetown, who attended the event. This was jointly done by His Excellency the President and his beloved wife, Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio.
The exercise sparked emotional moments between and among the pupils and onlookers, while at the same time putting on public display the special relationship the First Lady has nurtured with the girls, as most of the beneficiaries were spotted shedding tears, shaking uncontrollably and hugging their motherly figure, the First Lady.
While presenting His Excellency at the event, the First Lady Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio described the Pesident as the Campaigner-In-Chief of women’s empowerment and girls welfare issues in Sierra Leone.
She expressed appreciation to President Bio for providing the conducive environment for women and children to thrive.
Mrs. Bio said the current generation of girls will be the change we require as a nation, while appreciating the President for introducing the free quality education scheme.
Mrs. Bio used the forum as a platform to thank Sierra Leone for giving her opportunity to serve as First Lady through the trust reposed on President Bio.
“My husband is definitely not a politician but a problem solver,” she pointed out, while calling on Sierra Leoneans to continue to maintain him as President until all of the Nation’s problems are solved.
She vowed that the revolution for the independence and freedom of the girl child will continue unabated under the leadership of President Bio.
Sierra Leone, she said, is blessed to have a President with the extraordinary qualities in her husband, which include passion for women and girls rights.
She even narrated a personal story on how supportive her husband is during her menstrual cycle, while urging men to emulate such admirable characteristics.
“Thanks for being a wonderful husband and great father to the nation of Sierra Leone,” she noted.
According to her, President Bio strongly believes that no girl should be stigmatised or marginalised as a result of menstruation.
She encouraged the girls to make good use of the blessing they have to be part of the Bio presidency generation that is well protected and supported.
Delivering his keynote address amid thunderous applauds from the audience, President Maada Bio made a commitment to continue to support the education and general welfare of the girl child.
He expressed happiness that the First Lady has succeeded in breaking the taboo in discussing menstrual hygiene issues.
“I will continue to nurture this generation of children that will guarantee a brighter future for Sierra Leone,” the President assured.
Women, he said, can be great partners in development if we continue to nurture and provide the space for them.
“My Government will continue to invest on women’s issues,” he pointed out.
He spoke about the importance for menstrual hygiene public education and distribution of Sanitary Pads to school children to ensure girls stay in schools and enjoy the free quality education.
He urged the girls to stay focused and avoid all forms of distraction, while reiterating that his government is providing free quality education for all girls in the sciences from primary to university.
Chief Administrator of the Freetown City Council, Mr. Festus Kallay described the President Bio led Government as people’s centered, while lauding the Hands Off Our Girls and Free Sanitary Pads Distribution Campaign.
The free quality education initiative, he said, would not succeed if girls are not protected and kept healthy.
“The free sanitary pads initiative will support uninterrupted education of the girl child and promote good hygiene practices,” he disclosed.
According to him, the campaign will continue to demystify myths and stigmatisation surrounding menstruation. He saluted the Office of the First Lady for such wonderful initiatives, while urging her to continue to stand by the girls.
The Acting Mayor of FCC, His Worship Osman T. Koroma expressed appreciation to His Excellency the President, First Lady and partners for what he described as the selfless drive towards women and girls development.
He expressed optimism that the initiative will continue to blossom.
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ambassador Hu Zhangliang congratulated the Government of Sierra Leone for attaching great importance to human capital development and women’s empowerment, as according to him, women are drivers of national development.
He disclosed that the Hands Off Our Girls campaign has not only become a household name in Sierra Leone but also fastly becoming a unique social practice.
He noted that the First Lady’s initiative is being recognised globally as a result of the impressive impact it has recorded within few years of launching.
The Ambassador assured that the Chinese Government will continue to support such laudable initiatives.
“Protecting girls enhances social productivity,” he said.
Charge d’ Affairs of the Irish Embassy, Madam Emma McLoughlin highlighted the effects of menstruation on girls, while applauding the efforts of First Lady towards the distribution of Sanitary Pads.
Similar goodwill statements were delivered by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone and Resident Coordinator Goal Sierra Leone.
A pupil from the Methodist Girls High School, Deborah Macaulay delivered a moving speech at the event highlighting the impact of the First Lady’s intervention to protect their generation.
“I wonder what would have become of some of us had it not been for the intervention of our motherly First Lady,” she noted, while thanking the President for carefully selecting Mrs. Bio as the mother of the children.
Strategic Communications Division
Office of The First Lady
+232 303 68273