Welcoming guests at the State Lodge, Chief of Staff at the office of the First Lady, Sheik Salim Fieka, expressed his deepest appreciation to the President, for allowing the office of the First Lady carry out such a significant task for the women and girls in Sierra Leone, as its success for the past two years is gravely owed to him, as a global He4She campaigner, whose aim and work to protect and give right to women and girls in the country is immeasurable.
The Chief of Staff added, that through the Hands Off Our Girls Initiative, issues concerning women and girls that has for decades been considered a taboo, is now being discussed with an open mind and has given voices and power to thousands of girls to speak up against ills in society that affect them and militate against their empowerment.
Extending her appreciation to all the esteemed personalities and companies that have been working closely with the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio underscored the importance of allowing the people buy into your idea or agenda, like in the case of the Free Sanitary Pad for school girls; then it becomes the people’s project, hence they become willing to spend on it to ensure it success and sustainability.
Madam First Lady lavished praises on President Bio for his unwavering support and statesmanship towards the Hands Off Our Girls campaign, since he launched it in December 2018, as to him, the campaign is an apolitical one that represents the struggles of more than half of the country’s population.
She reiterated President Bio’s support towards the project, while thanking him for believing in her and allowing her office be the bridge between the government and the people through the campaign, and for breaking silence on issues like Menstruation, Sex education, which has been termed as a taboo and often frowned at.
” Thanks to you our president for not only supporting this course because the first lady is championing it but for giving the endless support and for always being there through thick and thin”, She mentioned.
Her Excellency disclosed, that the monies gathered during the 2019 dinner and fundraising event, One Nation Gospel Concert, added to the contributions made by individuals and companies, the Office of the First Lady has been able to successfully raise $400,000, which has secured 60,000 Sanitary Pads for girls in school and is set to begin its nationwide distribution.
His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio in his statement, gave a warm admiration and satisfactory smile for the achievement of the Office of the First Lady with the Free Sanitary Pad Project, while he encouraged all, to do more and ensure that every girl stays in school during her menstruation and is comfortable, not missing out a good number of days, due to the agony of menstruation stigma or discomfort.
His Excellency continued to pledge his government’s commitment in ensuring they support the First Lady in alleviating the lives of women and girls in the country by empowering them, giving them the opportunity to speak out and be heard and create equal platform for boys and girls to thrive on, as his government is one with a focus on Human Capital and inclusiveness.
“We are here to support women, no girl child or woman becomes a woman of substance, if she is not given the opportunity; and if left alone, they will become a liability” President Bio stated.
He thanked all those that have contributed to such a noble venture, mentioning, that his government is looking at closing the gaps of inequality, as no one should be left behind due to their gender, and that is why his government is committed to paying for 2.1 million kids every year through the Free Quality Education flagship program.
Other highlights of the program were performances from entertainers.
“As a nation, we have to provide a supportive environment for our children, especially girls, to nurture them and protect them against predators”, President Bio emphasized.
The President disclosed that he is an unapologetic ‘He4She’ Champion and urged all men to also be a part of the train, in helping to protect and develop women and girls in the country.
Strategic Communication Division
Office of The First Lady
+232 303 68273