In Jos Plateau, Nigeria, YES alumna Sunni Mallo (YES 2011-2012, Nigeria, placed by AFS-USA in Rialto, CA) organized a group of five YES alumni to implement an event at the Simi Girl Child Empowerment Initiative Orphanage (SGEIO) in observance of World Menstrual Hygiene Day. SGEIO, founded by Simi Goshwe of Nigeria, aims to protect, house, and empower less fortunate young women. Simi herself struggled economically growing up, and has found a passion for helping young women face the future with boldness.
World Menstrual Hygiene Day was observed on May 28 this year. The Menstrual Hygiene Day website writes about “a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, and with confidence.” This is done by increasing access to menstrual hygiene products, clean water, and education.
Period poverty, or the lack of access to knowledge and sanitary products, keeps young women from reaching their full potential. Without access to the right products, it can keep women from attending school and work, and affect their health long term. In order to combat this issue, the YES alumni in Jos Plateau, Nigeria founded the PAD A Girl Project.
Their mission is to empower, educate, and support disenfranchised youth, and the PAD A Girl project is one way for them to do this. At SGEIO, they were able to teach over 70 young women about their health, give out sanitary products, and educate them about women’s health.
Sunni says that the experiences that she had during her YES year taught her communication and leadership skills that helped her found the PAD A Girl Project. In the future, she would like to expand this organization and continue empowering young women through education.