Irked by high number of girls which studies have shown to miss school due to monthly menstrual cycle, Rotary Club of Lagos Palmgrove Estate (Nigeria, RID 9110) in Lagos launched its Project Nora Dreams designed to provide free sanitary pads for secondary school girls every month.
The project which was officially flagged off by the Managing Director, Goje Africa, Nneka Isaac Moses also targets less privileged girls in public schools whose parents cannot afford monthly cost of sanitary pads.
Speaking during the launch of the project at Ilupeju Senior Secondary School where 500 packs were distributed to students, the Chair- New Generation, RC Lagos Palmgrove Estate, Rtn Reena Bangera explained that the essence of the project was to further improve girl child education and menstrual hygiene through provision of sanitary packs to the school-going girls to avoid absenteeism during their monthly period.
“Our study has highlighted that 20 per cent of the girls from the challenged sections of society miss school because they lack access to menstrual hygiene supplies.”
The project is also aimed at creating awareness about this beng a normal phenomenon in girls and it’s time the society accepts it rather than something to hide or feel ashamed of.
Botswana is the first African country to provide this hygiene pack to the students of all the public schools followed likewise by Kenya and Ghana.
“We hope and pray the Nigerian Government too starts such an initiative very soon,” she added.
Speaking on the occasion, Club President Ravi Kamat said Rotary was known for community service and this year the club is concentrating on education, hence, the need for Project Nora Dreams.
“The project is to make life better and more comfortable for girls in school. Our target is 1,000 girls and we intend to take it to other schools in Ilupeju and environs. There are plans to extend it to less privileged women in the communities.”
“Last Friday of every month, we will be coming to share 500 sanitary packs,” he stated.
Addressing the students, Nneka Moses who narrated her experience with menses while in secondary school said the project would guarantee the students confidence in class during their menstrual period.
“Women and girls should be proud of being who they are and should not let their period be a hindrance at any point in time,” she added.
On her part, Rtn Parvl Bhageria, who commended the initiative, regretted that not every family can afford a sanitary pad monthly, adding that, “with this, the monthly trouble is lifted off the shoulder of parents.”
“This programme is creating awareness among them and help will help them achieve their dreams.”
For 10 years, the club has tremendously contributed towards improving the quality of life for over countless persons in Nigeria.
The club has conducted over 22,000 cataract surgeries, provided over 50,000 artificial limbs, collected over 2,000 units of blood, conducted over 40 health camps besides other community initiatives.
Education being a priority, “we are now providing facilities to schools – provision of bench desks, building water and sanitation facilities in schools,” Bangera said.