For Prisca Owusu Amankwa, the senior girls’ prefect at the Feyiase D/A JHS, it is usual for most of her mates to miss a few days of school each month because most of them have no sanitary towels to use when she has her period.
“Most of my colleagues have poor living conditions and can hardly afford sanitary products during their menstrual cycle”, the 15-year-old said.
For many other girls who live in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region, education has already been disrupted by poverty. Many children here drop out of school intermittently, for one or two years at a time, because their families cannot afford to send them.
Available figures published by the Ghana Statistical Service indicate nearly 1.3 million Ghanaian children aged four to 17 are not in school. Out of that number, almost one million children have never attended school.
Period poverty – being unable to work or attend school because of a lack of funds for sanitary products – makes life even harder for girls.
At the Feyiase D/A JHS, Assistant Headmistress, Ms. Vida Yankson has tried to find solutions, but she is becoming increasingly frustrated.
“At times most of the girls do not come to school without sanitary pads [during their periods] so it is the staff that sometimes provide for them. Because some of them don’t have money to buy the pads some don’t even come to school”, Yankson said.
Research from the University of Education, Winneba proves that 53% of adolescent girls cannot afford themselves sanitary pads thereby lacking access to adequate menstrual protection.
Members of the Church of Pentecost within the Feyiase District – Asokwa Area are working to stem this tide. The church on Wednesday (18 October) distributed menstrual and hygiene products to schools across their jurisdiction, including the Feyiase D/A JHS.
The gesture forms part of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child. The Secretary of the women’s ministry of the Church of Pentecost, Asokwa Assembly, Mrs. Baaba Forson is backing calls to scrap the 15% VAT on menstrual hygiene products imported into the country.
“We strongly support the advocacy of other civil societies in the scrapping of taxes on menstrual hygiene products and sanitary goods”, she boldly said. “The girl child is usually deprived of necessities such as sanitary products, which is inhumane. [And] we decided to donate these items and encourage them to live like Christ”.
Some of the items donated include books, mathematical instruments, exercise books and other educational materials valued at 6,000 cedis. The gesture was also in line with the Church’s theme for the year: “Possessing the Nations”.
The entire staff and pupils of Feyiase D/A JHS thanked the church for the kind gesture.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH