ZANZIBAR: AT least 1,240 female students from secondary schools in Unguja Urban District and Unguja South District have benefited from sanitary towels donated to boost menstrual hygiene.
Ms Asma Ali Mwinyi- Chairperson of the ‘Asma Mwinyi Foundation’, extended the donations in the following schools: Abdu Jumbe Mwinyi school (500 students); Kwarara (600 students); and in Kizimkazi Dimbani, Kizimkazi Kizimbani, and Hasnu Makame Schools (340 students).
She said the initiative supported by Yummy-Yummy Company targets to keep the students, especially teenage girls in school during their menstrual period.
The donation included writing materials such pen, books and uniform for students from poor families or those living in difficult environment.
“We are happy to contribute to the development of students. We want more girls to remain in school to study,” said Asma, sister to President Hussein Mwinyi.
The students were also educated on hygiene during menstruation and sexually transmitted diseases, and asked to take precautions, while parents were advised to keep buying standard pads for their children because using rags when on their menses expose them to infections.
Most girls in schools, particularly in rural areas opt using rags because of wrong perception on pads and most parents being unable to afford sanitary towels for their girls due to the current economic hard times.
Education Officer in South Unguja Mr Mohammed Haji Ramadan said that providing the menstruation pads will help improve performance in schools in the district, which in the past had poor results due to several reasons including absenteeism during menses.
Speaking at a brief handover ceremony at Kwarara School, teacher Hussein ally thanked the foundation for seeing the importance of providing pads.
“We are grateful because students are now preparing for their final secondary school examination later this year.” He said.
Ms Veronica Mtindira, who is a Councilor also said the goal of the distribution of female towels is to help girls be comfortable in studies, while the Assistant head teacher of Kwarara School Ms Khadija Omary also thanked the Asma Mwinyi Foundation.
“We have been buying female hygiene pads to help girls from poor families stay in schools. We thank Asma Mwinyi and call upon various institutions and organizations to come forward to help all students access them,” Ms Omary said.