Over 420 girls from schools at Ha Senekane and its neighbouring schools within Sefikaneng Area program in the district of Berea walked away with smiles on their faces after receiving sanitary packs from the business community.
For the second year in a row, during the commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day, World Vision Lesotho invited the business community - suppliers to donate sanitary material to vulnerable girls who cannot afford hygiene during their menstrual periods.
This was an activity organised by World Vision Lesotho, led by her Majesty Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso - Lesotho’s Champion for Vulnerable Children. The event attracted the presence of the ministers of Health, Sports and Education, UNICEF as well as members of parliament.
“Our intention this year is to discuss way we can assist our girl children with ways they can take care of themselves and keep hygienic during their menstrual periods,” her Majesty reminded the participants.
Orphaned and vulnerable girl children remain challenged during their menstrual periods. They drop out of school to avoid being shamed, as it becomes obvious to their schoolmates; “...we must also remember the girls who are not in schools,” she said to the ministers.
The Minister of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation - Mahali Phamotse echoed Her Majesty’s centiments that there are girls that are not able to register in schools because of poverty, those that have failed in schools and have dropped out. She advised development partners to consider them during campaigns of national interest.
Her Majesty the queen reminded school children and parents that menstruation is a natural process and not a girl child’s choice; “It is therefore our responsibility all to encourage them to come to terms with that they were created differently,”she said.
“Actually when we are on our periods we usually old clothes such as socks, especially when we are at school. As we know that socks are nylon they cannot absorb blood and for this matter blood ends up leaking to the extent that everyone sees,” said Tlotlisang Thulo, a student from Mokoallong High School.
“It is for this reason that shame comes upon us due to low self confidence, and we feel embarrassed. Apart from that we use sheep skins and sponge.Sheep skin causes wounds as friction is high. This causes us to walk with difficulty,” Thulo cited.
The day was filled with hygiene-centric entertainment not only by girls and older women, but also from boys and older men bridging the gender divide. Her Majesty applauded the men for breaking out of cultural stereotypes.
The Minister of Education and Training - Proffessor Ntoi Rapapa, echoed Her Majesty's sentiments when he encouraged father's to consider buying sanitary pads for girls over less valuable items.
“I appreciate all that has been said here, a proper school must have water both for drinking and washing. It must have proper usable toilets, a great challenge for our country. We shall address these working together with you parents, teachers and parliamentarians,” Rapapa added.