A local non-governmental organisation, I Matter Initiative, has partnered with The Bank of Kigali (BK) to educate young girls on sexual reproductive health rights and management.
During the event, menstrual hygiene products were distributed to over 60 adolescent girls with disabilities who are studying in HVP
Gatagara in the Rwamagana district.
The organisation aims to end period poverty in Rwanda and destigmatise menstruation by providing skills in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
It distributes and donates free menstrual products to less fortunate girls in schools and raises advocacy to end taxation on all period products.
Speaking during the event on Friday, Divine Ingabire, the Executive Director of the I Matter Initiative, said that the interventions seek to create a community of girls and women who are confident and informed on sexual reproductive health and rights.
“We have given menstrual products such as underwear, sanitary pads, and soaps, among others, to over 60 adolescent girls in HVP Gatagara in Rwamagana district. This is not the first time we have supported HVP Gatagara.
This is the third school of HVP Gatagara we have supported. These include HPV Gatagara in the Nyanza district of Huye and the Rwamagana. Bank of Kigali supported in this End Period poverty campaign,” she said.
They selected HVP Gatagara school because adolescent girls with disabilities need exceptional support.
“We supported schools in general, but adolescent girls with disabilities need special support, so they do not feel stigmatised. Their parents abandon some, and those who cater for them sometimes do not afford it. The support will prevent school dropouts and absenteeism among them,” she said.
She said that the 60 adolescent girls were also trained and educated on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
“We trained them to prevent teen and unwanted pregnancies because the cases have been rising and triggering school dropouts and sexually transmitted diseases. We are partnering with medical students at the University of Rwanda to educate these adolescent girls,” she said.
Ingabire said that the organisation is supposed to support 1,500 adolescent girls in schools monthly, adding that it requires more funding.
“That is why we got support from the Bank of Kigali, and we need more partners to end period poverty,” she said.
Kaberuka Uwiringiyimana, the Deputy headmaster of HVP
Gatagara-Rwamagana in charge of studies welcomed the support saying it will avoid absenteeism caused by a lack of menstrual products among the vulnerable adolescent girls with disabilities.
“Some parents cannot afford menstrual products for their children, so the support is timely. The knowledge about sexual reproductive health and rights these girls have gained will prevent teen pregnancies and related effects such as fistula, sexually transmitted diseases, school dropouts, and mental health issues,” he said.