Between a Principal and Free Sanitary Pads for His Students
What could be the reason a secondary school principal rejected free sanitary pads provided for his students?
On February 2, 2022, free sanitary pads, up to 11 cartons were provided for the female students of Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Four Town, Uyo in Akwa Ibom state. A generous and outstanding NYSC member, Helen Edoo who has been serving in the secondary school since 2021 discovered that the female students in her class are unaware of sanitary pads. This corper is a down-to-earth lady who loves children, in her friendship with them, she discovered that the girls use old rags and tissue during menstruation.
Being a kind Nigerian, she bought pads for a few of the girls and started making plans of how to get more pads. It was in the light of this good burden that she started a movement to pad the girl child with the hash tag #padthegirlchild and #padthegirlchild@100. She decided to pad 100 girls in two months time and began to share her vision with friends. She started this initiative in late 2021 and people began to donate money into an idle account of hers for the vision.
While funds came in little by little, she started making notes of what to teach the girls, how to inform them of sanitary pads, how to educate them on the hazards of using rags and tissues, she wrote fervently on her social media handles, revealing the harmful ordeal the girls are passing through. She pleaded with others to join her. Through this, a relative of hers, a lecturer in the Rivers State University with a Doctorate Degree, volunteered to grace the occasion and teach the female students. This threw more silver linen into the vision.
Miss Edoo had in December approached the principal of the school and shared her vision, the man was rather ambivalent and apathetic. She approached him again and he said she will pick a date and include all the female students in the school. She had wanted to do this for her female students alone according to her budget but the man disapproved. Out of her goodwill, she accepted and asked him for a date, the principal kept wavering till the year ended. It was in another meeting in January that he eventually pointed February 2nd.
The Donations read up to 70 in thousand, surpassing the 100 girls.
donations for February padthegirlchild
Helen Edoo, with the help of a few other corp members arrived Community Secondary School, Four Town yesterday with 11 cartons of sanitary pads to pad 176 girls instead of 100. The Doctor was well present too and the educational event kicked-off. The principal, Pastor Tom Ime Ekpo, found it difficult to allow them use the equipment in the school, he instantly had a friction with the Doctor too. The corp members had to plead with the noble woman to overlook him.
Pastor Tom Ime Ekpo was unappreciative of something good coming to his students, he appeared more and more apprehensive over the event all of a sudden. Miss Edoo had mentioned that because of his attitude, the school had said if her budget will not pad all the female students in the school, then the students should write an exam concerning the lesson they have received from the event and those who pass will receive the sanitary pads. Miss Edoo found this appalling within her nerves, asking if Nigeria must always be this difficult even for free sanitary pads. However, she settled to educate the whole female students as they deemed fit but to give the pad to her own students and a few other females around.
The school made the philanthropic act difficult but she strived and established 2nd of February 2022.
Cartons of sanitary pads for padthegirlchildMenstrual Health Education
Yet after the lecture and ceremony, the principal broke the camels’ back by withholding the corp members from distributing the pads. This is the most disheartening thing that can happen to a harmless intention, to a set of women at once. The female students who looked up to having a free pack of sanitary pad coiled back into their shells. Hopes were totally dashed.
What could be the reason a secondary school principal, a pastor, rejected free sanitary pads provided for his students? This is the fracture in our system, the cocoon of hate in Nigerian leadership that makes those in any form of corridor of power humiliate citizens.
Miss Edoo was the most heartbroken. She ruefully returned to her lodge with the cartons of pads and proposed to go to other schools and distribute them.
She has also decided to continue the hash tag #padthegirlchild as a full fledge initiative.