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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Launches 2023 Free Sanitary Pads Distribution, Saying Now Is Best Time to Be a Girl Child in Sierra Leone

Bo Mini-Stadium, Southern Province, Thursday, 2 February 2023 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has officially launched the nationwide free sanitary pad distribution for girls in secondary school, stating in Bo City that since independence in 1961, this is the best time to be a girl child in the country.

“This is the best time to be a girl or a woman in Sierra Leone, courtesy of the Paopa administration. The future of this country is female, which means Paopa the girl child will lead this country. To realise that dream, they must be educated, which is why my government has abolished school fees.

“We did not only make education free, but we also provided books for pupils and teachers, buses, and free school feeding programmes in some parts of the country, aiming to ensure more children access school even in remote communities,” he stated.

“As a government, we realised that in many homes, our girl child is unable to go to school as a result of menstruation. In many homes in Sierra Leone, the issue of menstruation is so taboo subject that no one talks about it in the family. This has prevented more girls from attending school, while others have missed class.

“To our parents, I want you to know that the girl child can be educated just as well as boys, but in achieving that goal they need to be protected at school and nurtured in their schools, homes and in communities. That is why my wife, the First Lady, started the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ campaign because we want to stop teenage pregnancy and early marriage for all school-age children to ensure they attain their full potential in the future,” he concluded.

Principal of Queen of the Rosary School in Bo, Sister Bernadette Ngosi, said, “The Free Quality Education has lessened the financial burden on parents, particularly the vulnerable parents in the suburbs of Sierra Leone. The provision of school buses to help ferry school children at a minimal cost, the provision of teaching and learning materials, the payment of fees and for all public examinations.

“…the provision of sanitary pads to all school-going children, and the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ programme, all of which help in the education of our girls in schools. These are laudable and I want to thank you for all you have been doing for our children in this country. On behalf of all the heads of school in the district, I want to assure you, His Excellency, that we are with you and we will continue to support you”.

Representatives from donor partners like UNFPA, CARE and GOAL Sierra Leone, pledged their continual support to the government’s Free Quality Education and the free sanitary pad distribution programme, adding that they would help ensure that girls had the same opportunity as boys had in schools. They promised to help make President Bio’s life-changing initiative a success.

 For more information: State House Media and Communications Unit



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