Her Excellency the First Lady, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio successfully distributed over 8,000 free sanitary pads to girls in the Bombali and Tonkolili districts.
She was scheduled to distribute 4,000 sanitary pads in Bombali district but ended up distributing over 6,000 to the children of the district who stormed the Wusum Field in their thousands when news spread that Her Excellency was in Makeni, even without the coupons that were shared in the various schools.
Magburaka in the Tonkolili district received some 2,000 sanitary pads as part of a total package of 4,000 for the district. The remaining 2,000 would be distributed in Mile 91 at a later date.
In Makeni, Her Excellency received a heroine welcome starting from the Clock Tower. Crowds of supporters in the district prompted Dr. Bio to disembark her convoy vehicle and walked her way through various streets of the northern city amid singing, dancing and waving onto the Wusum Field where thousands more had gathered for the official event.
In her keynote lectures in the two districts, Her Excellency the First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio saluted the Paramount Chiefs for all the support provided in ensuring the success of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign.
She further saluted the bravery of the Mayor of Makeni City Her Worship Sunkarie Kamara for being the first female stakeholder to publicly associate with the campaign.
She further singled out the Chief Administrator, Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Milton Margai Technical University Prof. Philip Kanu, politician and women’s rights activist, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and teachers, among various other stakeholders, for all the support they have rendered in complementing His Excellency’s national agenda.
She urged the school girls to continue to be true to the bond between and among them, which is for the girls to always put education first.
She expressed confidence in the girls of Makeni and Magburaka, while encouraging them to continue to excel.
Her Excellency advised the children to desist from all practices that are inimical to their progress including examination malpractice.
She encouraged the kids to always remember and appreciate the good work of His Excellency the President, while reiterating that they should not allow any politician to use them during elections.
“Elections are for politicians and not children,” she emphasised.
Politician and Women’s Rights Activist, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden told the audience that her message to them was simple: “One good turn deserves another,” while reiterating and encouraging the kids to emulate the good examples of Drs. Fatima Maada Bio to inspire generations yet unborn.
“All what the First Lady is doing is to ensure the future generation is full of women of substance,” she disclosed.
Mayor of Makeni city, Her Worship Sunkarie Kamara thanked the First Lady for the launch of the Hands Off Our Girls campaign, which has enhanced the level of awareness among kids and all stakeholders.
She confirmed that every girl in modern day Sierra Leone knows something about this campaign. She also praised the police for prosecuting defaulters of child sexual exploitation and violence.
“The benefits of the sanitary pads are felt right across communities of beneficiaries,” she highlighted, noting that the era of girls staying away from schools while on their menstrual cycles is over as a result of the sanitary pads campaign.
She called on the First Lady to ensure she regularly engages the children of this country on civic education.
Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Milton Margai Technical University, Prof. Philip Kanu expressed appreciation to the First Lady, whom she described as one of a kind for seeking the welfare of the kids in the district.
“Bombali and Tonkolili hold you to the highest esteem as evident in the massive turnout of stakeholders during the free sanitary pads distribution program,” he pointed out.
Various stakeholders including the Vice Chancellor and Principal of Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, Prof. Edwin Momoh made statements to appreciate the First Lady.
Demonstrations on the use of the sanitary pads and electrifying performance from various leading musicians form parts of the events.