His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio and the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio have distributed over 6,000 (six thousand) sanitary pads to school girls in the Southern city of Bo on Thursday 2nd February 2022.
At the launch of the distribution exercise His Excellency, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio express his thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency the First Lady and her team for mobilizing over six thousand pupils to receive the free sanitary pads.
He noted that since Independence, this is the golden era for girls and women in Sierra Leone and the best time to be a woman in this country, courtesy of the Paopa led government.
He described the SLPP as a ‘kombra’ party that has trained thousands of teachers, provided books, buses, teaching and learning materials, and school feeding programs all for children going to school.
President Bio admitted that menstruation is not a taboo; gone are the days when girls are stigmatized all because they are on their menstrual cycle. “The distribution of the Free Sanitary Pads is to give equal opportunities to girls to stay in school during their menstruation period, our girls will not stay home again for days all because they are on their menstrual period” he said.
President Bo disclosed that the Hands Off Our Girls was launched to help protect, prevent, stop teenage pregnancy, and early marriages, stop sexual abuses, and restore the dignity of women and girls in the country.
He used the forum to encourage the girls to be focused and take their education seriously, especially when the government is doing all it can to support education in the country.
He concluded by revealing that his government has introduced the radical inclusion initiative that will allow pregnant girls and suckling mothers to continue school. This, he said, is to ensure that they maintain children in schools.
Addressing the pupils, Her Excellency the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, thanked the president for leaving his busy schedule to launch the free sanitary pads distribution in Bo. She admitted that she is excited because the president understands the importance of menstruation and what girls go through during those periods.
She revealed that before now it was her office that went out to source funding to buy the pads for distribution, but “I am grateful that the president for the love of the girls and the importance he attached to this initiative has asked his government to buy all the pads, while my office does the distribution to the schools nationwide” she said.
She appealed to the girls to use the pads for themselves as they should not sell them or share it with others. “The pads should last for one year; you have no reasons to buy extra pads for this year as we have you covered” she cautioned.
The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh described the president and the First Lady as champions of women and young girls in the country.
He appealed to the pupils to use the pads accordingly as they are healthy and very good for them.
Further statements were made by representatives of Goal Sierra Leone, Care International, and UNFPA commending the distribution process and committing their support to the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign and the Free Sanitary Pads Distributions.