A NIGERIAN LADY IS ASSISTING OTHER YOUNG GIRLS FROM LOW-INCOME HOMES AND IDP CAMPS WITH NECESSARY NEEDS FOR THEIR 'TIME OF THE MONTH'
Oghenekaro Omu is a Brand Strategist and Humanitarian who is passionate about the education and health of young Nigerian girls. She became concerned about the doubling increase in the cost of Sanitary pads in the country fuelled by the economic recession in Nigeria and decided to use what she had to make a change; her passionate heart and her social media influence.
Leveraging on social media, Oghenekaro decided to gather up a team of young followers; Gabriella Scott, Cynthia Ndeche, Tolani Thomas, Alexa Chukwumah, Ifeyinwa Mbanugo and Olamide Odukoya alongside other eager volunteers for a crowdfunding campaign which will be used to purchase sanitary pads for young underprivileged girls. The success of the first crowdsourcing campaign was beyond expectation, raising over Eight Hundred Thousand Naira within a week from followers on Twitter alone. Encouraged by the success, She and her team decided to set up an easily accessible page on twitter and Instagram, informing and engaging with donors on state of activities, process and challenges of campaigns - @freesanitarypad.
A UNESCO report states that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during her menstrual cycle due her inability to access affordable sanitary products. Generally, there is a hush-hush cloud surrounding menstrual hygiene in Nigeria which leaves underprivileged school girls to suffer in silence. It is also important to note that not only girls’ education suffer during menstruation, but in their overall health. It is stated that about 70% of all reproductive diseases in developing countries are caused by poor menstrual hygiene – which in turn affect maternal mortality. In places where girls cannot afford sanitary towels, many resort to of using reusable clothes, which most times are often washed without soap or clean water putting the girls and their future at high risk.
Oghenekaro’s Freesantiarypad initiative since January, 2017 has been working not just to distribute free sanitary towels to young girls around the country but also to assist young girls with proper education since sex education and female menstrual hygiene are not adequately discussed in the country. Currently the initiative has sent some sanitary towels to IDP camps in Jos and educated them on sanitary hygiene during menstruation. The initiative also has reached out to secondary schools in Lagos, assisting them with proper education on female sanitary hygiene and free sanitary towels. So far over 1000 sanitary towels have been distributed from January till date.
The initiative runs a sanitary drive monthly allowing donors to donate packs of sanitary pads for subsequent distribution. Gaining recognition off the internet, the initiative now has a representative in Procter and Gamble selling their sanitary products to them at a discounted rate.
It is interesting to see how Oghenekaro is using social media as a tool for change from her immediate community to the rest of Nigeria. It takes just the right heart and a viable skill to make a change. In less than three months, 'freesanitarypad' has raised over 1.5 million Naira off the internet which have been used to purchase and distribute sanitary towels to young girls. 'freesanitarypad' is also driving and causing the right conversations around the cost of sanitary pad, hygiene and education for young Nigerian girls. The future of social change is here and it is right in our hands.
To support the initiative contact @freesanitarypad Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct donations can be made HERE.