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Menstrual Hygiene Initiative to become annual program – First Lady Arya Ali

First Lady Arya Ali addressing the a gathering during her engagements today.

As she continues to distribute sanitary pads and napkins as part of her nationwide Menstrual Hygiene Initiative, First Lady Arya Ali said round table discussions have already begun to make the initiative a yearly program.

A group of students pose with the First Lady and Education Minister Priya Manickchand Friday afternoon

Speaking at the launching ceremony for the initiative in Region Three, Mrs. Ali noted that although the process has proven to be quite a complex one, she has been able to see the direct benefits of the initiative. “Getting to this point was not easy. It took hard work and sleepless nights to get here,” she explained.

The First Lady indicated that her office is currently looking at methods that can be implemented to make the initiative continuous. “…We are currently strategizing on how to make this project sustainable to ensure every year we [can] provide sanitary pads to [girls]…free of cost,” Ali highlighted.

A group of students at President’s College during sanitary napkins distribution

According to Her Excellency, just around 800 million girls around the world miss school because of what is commonly known as ‘period poverty’. This is defined as the lack of access to sanitary pads due to financial constraints. Through her office’s initiative, Ali is seeking to ensure that this social ill is no longer experienced by girls in Guyana.

Accompanying the First Lady in her visits to the schools was Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, who encouraged the girls to utilise this initiative and help other females who may be caught off guard by their menstrual cycles.

The government entourage visited West Demerara Secondary School in Region 3, President’s College in Region 4, and Bush Lot in Region 5. The First Lady committed to donating more than 15,000 packages with one year’s worth of sanitary napkins.