Co-founder of Pen to Paper Ghana (P2P) Katie Emerson in a chat with TheAfricanDream.net has said the P2P Menstrual Hygiene and Empowerment Workshop held to address the monthly problem behind some female students missing classes in Ghana was a huge success.
“We noticed that a lot of our female students were missing a week of school and our classes every month. After sensitively approaching them and their teachers, it became clear that it was due to their menstrual cycle. Many of them do not have adequate sanitary protection,” Katie revealed about the event held at the Crystal Rose Ambassador hotel in Ahodwo, Kumasi.
Due to these students’ inability to afford basic sanitary pads during their cycles, some are forced to use old pieces of cloths which do not guarantee non-spillage, so they stay at home because this cloth needs to be changed and washed during the day.
P2P felt this was hampering the girls education, and to help the situation the workshop — that had students from 5 schools and 10 students from a number of schools in the Lake Bosomtwe district of Ghana attending — became necessary.
Katie told TheAfricanDream.net that “many of them [female students] are also uninformed about menstruation and therefore do not talk about it. This workshop created an atmosphere where they could talk about it and also provide them with the needed education on the important subject with talks from experts, skits, dance routines, and peer-interaction.“
P2P co-founder, Richard Manu, during in his talk at the workshop encouraged young girls to not feel ashamed of their reading and to especially not be ashamed about menstrual hygiene matters as it is important to talk about it than miss school. The girls were excited to see the event’s emcee Chloe Awuah, aka Yaa Baby, a blond-haired and blue-eyed Caucasian from the US speak to them so fluently in the Twi language of Ghana.
YouTube star Yaa Baby is an actress, comedian, and philanthropist based in Ghana. Her presence greatly motivated the girls at the workshop which was sponsored by Assist Africa, Faytex Sanitary who donated over 400 packs of sanitary pads to the girls who attended the event, 3rd Angle Designs, and Koala Ghana Supermarket who provided snacks.
Some special guests included representatives of the Ghana Education Service, author and presenter Jenni Steele; an ambassador for Domestic Violence UK, Vida Owusu of Metro Education from Kumasi, Ghanaian author Alba Kunadu Sumprim who read from and donated copies of her book — The Imported Ghanaian — to the girls, and Ghanaian model and entrepreneur Hamamat Montia who donated some of her shea butter brand products.
P2P displayed a poster with wings represented on it that had the quote “She flies with her own wings” on it which fascinated the girls who took lots of photos in front of it. “We are glad to have played our small role in giving these girls ‘wings to fly with’ so they are not stopped from the pursuit of education and their dreams due to menstrual hygiene issues,” Katie told TheAfricanDream.net.
P2P is a nonprofit founded in 2015 that aims to improve education and facilities for the youth of Ghana by setting them on a path of success for their future. They can be found online at www.pentopaperghana.com.
Written by Oral Ofori