By Lukman Olabiyi

As part of the effort to educate young girls on menstrual cycle hygiene without financial constraints, a non-governmental organization, Edun Muinat Eniola (EME), has sensitized some students in Lagos State on this important feature of life.

Apart from the sensitisation, the group also empowered over 200 students during the programme at Ikeja Grammar School and was organized to mark International Day on Menstrual Hygiene.

Menstrual Hygiene Day takes place on May 28 every year, and it is meant  to highlight the importance of menstrual care and raise awareness about issues faced by those who do not have access to sanitary products.

The theme for this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day was “Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.” The programme was designed by the foundation to educate the  girls and empower them in taking care of their menstrual cycle without financial difficulty.

Guest speaker at the event, Aderonke Oyelakin, who expressed delight at celebrating the occasion with the students, said the sensitisation programme had to do with “how our girls take care of their personal hygiene.”

She said it was organized to enable the students to have life skills and core values, adding: “It will help them to achieve that vision you have already set for yourself.

“There are challenges that will come in life but when you stand firm with your core values and you know who you are, you stand firm, you will be able to achieve your goals.

“We have over 200 students here today. It is about the use of reusable pads and getting your life skills right. So, they need to also understand that women are being abused here and there and they should be protected.”

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According to Oyelakin, boys were also invited to attend the programme, saying that there was also the need for them “to know that they are male champions and not use their masculinity negatively.”

Also, the covener said the sensitization programme and empowerment came about against the backdrop of “the issue of poverty that surrounds the menstrual cycle.”

She said that based on this, alternative way of procuring menstrual pads through the use of ankara with thread and needle becomes desirable.

“With the use of thread and needle, they can also get used ankara and tailoring materials. All these will go a long way to make use of reusable pads and address poverty.

“The programme is not just ending in this hall. The students will go back to their churches and mosques to teach others,” she added.

She disclosed that the organization hoped to partner with the government and Sustainable Development Goals (SDCs) offices to get the message across to the young ones, adding that the message was also for the parents and the communities in its advocacy drive.

The project coordinator, Titilayo Ojulari, noted that menstruation was important in a female’s life cycle without which there would be no procreation, pointing out that there were “a lot of women that have no children because of menstrual failure.”

She, therefore, declared that the “menstrual cycle is a biological right that the young girls should not be ashamed of.”

A female student of Ikeja Grammar School, Okeyemi Sunmisola, expressed delight about the programme, saying that she had learnt not to be ashamed of her menstrual cycle and was ready to go out there “and teach others what I have learnt here today.”

Also, Faronbi Daniel, male, of the same school said:  “I have learnt how to relate with girls during their menstruation.”