In a display of support for girls’ empowerment and in celebration of the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child, the Center for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) paid a visit to Perfect Praise College in Olowora, Lagos, October 11.
CEE-HOPE’s visit made a profound impact on the students of Perfect Praise College, in the Olowora area of Lagos State while instilling a sense of belief in their potential and underscoring the importance of initiatives aimed at empowering and supporting girls. The visit also sheds light on the critical need for government support to ensure that essential resources like sanitary pads are accessible to school girls nationwide.
Founder and Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah, led the visit and shared her personal story of triumphing over adversity to achieve success. She stressed the remarkable potential that resides within every girl, irrespective of their background, and highlighted the transformative influence of education and skills development, particularly in the digital era.
“As a girl, you are born with immense potential, regardless of whether you come from a privileged or underprivileged background. When provided with the opportunity to receive an education and acquire skills, especially in this digital age, there are no limits to what you can achieve. Put God first, be disciplined, be focused and prioritise your education, and you see yourself becoming a global player,” Abah told the school girls, numbering about 200.
Following the discussion, the girls engaged in various question-and-answer sessions with Abah and received exercise books, story books, bags, sanitary pads, t-shirts, wristwatches and other gift items benefiting the students from Junior Secondary School One to Senior Secondary School Three. The pads donation is a part of CEE-HOPE’s current campaign which highlighted the prevalence of period poverty and its negative impacts on girl education while pressuring the government to make pad distribution to school girls a sustainable policy initiative as practised in countries across the world including Kenya and Uganda, or either reduce or remove taxation on sanitary products following in the steps of Rwanda and Swaziland.
Expressing her appreciation for CEE-HOPE’s work and reflecting on the increasing cost of sanitary pads today, the school proprietress, Mrs. Uzoechi Oluwaluyi, acknowledged the difficulties that some parents face in affording basic necessities like sanitary pads and commended CEE-HOPE for its initiative.
“Pad is very expensive now and we still do our best to buy for our girls in school because some parents can’t even afford a three square meal and as such cannot afford to buy pads, so I salute CEE-HOPE for this initiative”. She urged the government to extend support to schools and NGOs such as CEE-HOPE to assist young girls in acquiring the essentials that they require to thrive. Oluwaluyi added, “It is crucial for the government to ensure the happiness and well-being of the girl child.”
Furthermore, Mrs. Nwabueze, the Vice Principal, lauded CEE-HOPE’s endeavours and appealed to the government to enhance its support for NGOs like CEE-HOPE. She underscored the significance of distributing free sanitary pads and other essential items to girls throughout Nigeria.
“I am aware of the significant impact this has on the lives of our girls. If this support continues, it will set them on the right path and impart the knowledge they need about themselves and their lives. I implore the government to support NGOs like CEE-HOPE for a more meaningful impact,” said Mr. Aliike P.O, the school’s Principal.
The visit also featured passionate responses from students. A Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 student and a member of the school’s press club, Miss Danladi Favour, emphasized the importance of respecting and instilling confidence in the girl child. She also commended initiatives like that of CEE-HOPE’s annual visit to the school to inspire girls.
Another student, Miss Balogun Blessing, also shared her newfound awareness of the vast potential that lies within every girl. She expressed gratitude for the enduring impact of CEE-HOPE’s work and encouraged her fellow students to never underestimate themselves.
Abah said the International Day of the Girl is globally celebrated every year to draw attention to the various and peculiar issues affecting girls. According to her, CEE-HOPE has utilized the occasion every year by engaging with hundreds of school girls and creating awareness on issues like period poverty, rape, and the need for stakeholders to invest more resources into girl education amongst other vital issues affecting the Nigerian girl child.
CEE-HOPE is a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working on the rights, welfare and development of vulnerable children in impoverished and marginalized communities in Nigeria, especially girls.