QUEEN ’Masenate Mohato Seeiso has appealed to Basotho to support a project meant to provide sanitary pads for schoolgirls across the country.
Officially launching the Adopt a Girl-Child campaign to supply high school girls with sanitary pads this past week, Her Majesty said the initiative was meant to empower female learners by ensuring their education was not affected during their menstruation cycle.
School girls, especially in Lesotho’s remote areas, are affected by lack of access to sanitary pads. This challenge often forces the female learners to miss lessons during their menstrual cycles thereby short-circuiting their education.
It prompted Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso to spearhead a campaign last August to provide school girls with sanitary pads through partnerships with corporate and individual donors.
Under the campaign, dubbed Hlokomela Banana, which means “Care for Girls” in Sesotho, female learners are also educated on personal hygiene. The project is supported by sanitary towel manufacturer Lil-llets.
The Hlokomela Banana campaign spawned the Adopt a Girl-Child initiative which encourages the corporate sector and individuals to commit to supplying sanitary pads to a school of their choice for a year.
The Adopt a Girl-Child campaign was launched in conjunction with HigherLife Foundation — a corporate social investment division of Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL).
To participate in the campaign, individuals and corporates can send the message Hlokomela Banana to the ETL number 65240, and M66.60 would be deducted from their account and deposited into the project’s account.
So far, 11 companies have come on board in the campaign and committed to provide the sanitary pads to their adopted schools on a quarterly basis.
Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso said availing pads to learners would enhance their learning environment.
“Our objective with the Hlokomela Banana project is to, among other things, ensure that all girls in high schools get free sanitary towels,” Her Majesty said.
“We intend to achieve this objective in the next five years through the Adopt a School and Adopt a Girl-Child campaigns.”
The Queen also pointed out that said since the launch of the campaign last year, none of the 6 000 girls who received the sanitary pads missed school during January and February 2017.
Many of the girls had hitherto been forced to use sheep skin as pads during menstruation and fail to attend 50 days of classes in a year.
“It is pleasing to note that at least 44 of the 327 high schools in Lesotho have been adopted and supplied with sanitary towels. All of the country’s 10 districts are covered although a lot more still needs to be done. We are optimistic that the Adopt a Girl-Child campaign will steer us in the right direction,” Her Majesty said.
Expressing gratitude to the 11 companies that have joined the campaign, Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso called for all stakeholders to help them assist girls in the remaining 283 schools. The campaign was being initiated by the Queen National Trust Fund in conjunction with Premier Foods.
“As the Trust, we would like to acknowledge and appreciate our main sponsors for their commitment to this noble cause. I wish to once again thank Premier Foods and Blue Ribbon Lesotho Bakery for being the pioneers of this programme.
Her Majesty also commended HigherLife Foundation for adopting six schools with 800 girls.