By Vera Samuel Anyagafu
Chairperson of Project SAKHI, an initiative of Rotary Club of Lagos Island (RCLI) District 9110, Ashvini Nagarkar, disclosed that the RCLI has given out free sanitary napkins to female students of Victoria Island Senior Secondary and Kuramo Senior Secondary Schools in Lagos.
Mrs. Ashvini Nagarkar, Chairman, Project SAHKI, speaking at the distribution of the items to the students in Lagos on Wednesday, said the gesture was to boost the girl-child’s confidence while she observes her menstrual cycle.
Stating that Project SAKHI is a pioneer social awareness programme aimed at enlightening school girls on the importance of education and personal sanitary hygiene, Nagarkar added that the free distribution is done on a monthly basis.
While noting that the RCLI has been involved in many other social service projects on health and sanitation, blood donation, tree planting, education, among others, the chairperson said that a recent survey conducted in Nigeria revealed that lack of proper and adequate menstrual hygiene management system, a bye-product of inadequate water and sanitation facility, has an adverse effect on the health and education of adolescent girls.
Mrs. Poonam Agarwal, Coordinator, SAHKI, stated that equally important to the club is the cost of each pad when poor families cannot afford it, adding that the situation is even worse in the male-dominated family where girls are barred from using necessary products and are instead, forced to use unhygienic items as old rags, magazines, leaves and even feathers, which ultimately lead to infection and infertility in future.
“Every month, RCLI members will visit and distribute the sanitary products to the students and today, is the second day of such event,” she said.
Mrs. Kamlesh Jain, a member of the Board of Directors stated that poor menstrual hygiene can lead to fungal and bacterial infections in reproductive and urinary tracts and cause serious disorders like kidney failure, infertility, as well as cervical cancer.
Quoting the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), which estimates that one in 10 young girls in Africa misses school during their menstrual period and eventually drops out due to social compulsion, Jain added that through SAKHI, RCLI aims to create awareness among the school girls and their under-privileged counterparts will be given free sanitary products, as well encouraged to use it.
She added said that “Under SAKHI, the RCLI has adopted two schools in Victoria Island, including Kuramo College and Victoria Island Secondary Schools, where about 400 girl-students will benefit from the project for their requirement of sanitary napkins.”
The BoT member, who said that the programme is to enable young girls go to school during their periods, give them the confidence that they can do and achieve whatever they want during her menstrual period, added that it is to nurture them to become who they ought to be.
RCLI is determined to spread its wings to more number of schools in future and cover as many girls as possible so as to encourage them to continue their endeavor to have universal education, as well as prevent school drop-outs from the Nigerian society.