By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Strong Women Strong Girls Sierra Leone (SWSG-SL) , in collaboration with Beauties with Brains Organisation, has on Saturday 25th April embarked on a sensitization and donation of sanitary pads to young girls in the Kroo Bay community in Freetown.
The donated items include 60pads, perfume, shaving sticks and pants and pads disposal bags was distributed to young girls between the age of 10 and 19yrs.
Speaking during the engagement and donation ceremony, Mariatu Kabba Co-Founder and Executive Director of SWSG-SL said her organisation together with Beauty with brain decided to embark on the sensitization and distribution of sanitary pads around the Kroo Bay community was to reach out to girls , to teach them about the effect of early sex and the negative effect of teenage pregnancy stating that as it is Coronavirus time girls are at home and that they are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence thus the need to reach out to them.
“we have to give them some talk on how they can prevent themselves on teenage pregnancy as well as help them by giving out to them sanitary pads because these are some of the small things that men used to lure them and do bad things against them,’’ she said.
She added that during the sensitization , they didn’t only talk to the young girls but also to their care givers , as to their roles in making sure that their girl child was safe from COVID-19 and teenage pregnancy.
“This is very timely , under normal circumstances, girl child goes through a lot , the resources aren’t really available for them . Girl child usually finds it difficult to purchase or buy sanitary pads and instead resorts to using old piece of clothes which is not hygienic for them which they can contract diseases from, ’’Mariatu explained.
Kabba went to on to say , even under normal circumstances , they are liable to sexual and gender-based violence(SGBV) thus stating that not to talk of the present health situation, compounded with the economic and social stress it will be difficult for them to cope hence the need for the sensitization and to give out to them what they can afford.
The SWSG founder further said as a youth-female led organization in the country their aim is strengthening the socioeconomic status of women and girls and providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in life through mentorship, skills training and awareness raising campaigns.
“This would aid them to contribute meaningfully to social change and build a sustainable and healthy society,’’ the SWSG founder lamented.
On her part , Janet Hawa Koroma , Managing Director of Beauties With Brains Organisation said her organisation has been working in slum communities and in the streets with their monthly girls on period campaign, a campaign they have been doing in slum communities for adolescent girls in the country adding they were partnering with SWSG to do the sanitary pads donations in the Kroo Bay Community.
She encouraged the young girls to take care of themselves especially during their menstrual cycle and to take care of their menstrual pads and to dispose them off to an appropriate place safely.
One of the beneficiaries, Kadiatu Bundu , said the sanitary pads were good to protect them as women during their menstrual cycle, thus expressing appreciation to SWSG and Beauty for their timely donation and sensitization on teenage pregnancy during this Covid-19 period.