MASERU, LESOTHO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, in partnership with Her Majesty Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho, hosted a special event intended to help keep girls in school, reduce their vulnerability to HIV infections and build their self-esteem.
The event, which is a joint initiative of the Queen’s Hlokomela Banana (Care for Girls) project and AHF’s GIRLS ACT campaign supported young women and girls drawn from various schools and an orphanage with the provision of free sanitary pads and school supplies. This initiative was largely informed by the compelling fact that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school as a result of their menstruation cycle, which equals twenty percent of a given school year.
“Globally girls continue to miss school once their menstruation starts, due to lack of facilities, lack of information or lack of personal sanitary products in the schools. Unfortunately, the ripple effect of this is that being away from school makes them potentially more susceptible to HIV infection. In addition, away from schooling, they lose the opportunity of being empowered through education for a better future,” said Mapaballo Mile, Country Program Manager, AHF Lesotho. “This is the motive behind this formidable partnership with the Queen: to ensure that girls receive free monthly supplies of sanitary pads, school items and menstrual hygiene management and HIV prevention education.”
AHF launched it’s GIRLS ACT campaign in 2016 to ensure that young women and girls aged 15-24 are reached with a wide range of services, including but not limited to sexual reproductive health, menstrual hygiene management, HIV/STI, and legal aid for victims of gender based violence. AHF continues to exemplify its commitment towards supporting and uplifting girls through this kind of initiative, to ensure they have better health outcomes and make informed choices.
“Beyond these initiatives, we would strongly encourage stakeholders and governments to support accessibility to sanitary pads by removing tax levies which makes them unaffordable for most girls in rural areas and commit to making them available in schools at no cost,” stressed Larissa Klazinga, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager, AHF Southern Africa. “We must also ensure that menstrual hygiene management becomes an integral part of school curriculum, by so doing, we empower girls to feel comfortable about their bodies and boost their confidence!”
The initiative is set to hit more cities and communities in Lesotho in the coming months.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 690,000 individuals in 38 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare