Feb 9, 2021

Menstrual Hygiene kit for 500 girls in Chitwan

In December 2020, schools reopen in Nepal, after a long closure due to the pandemic. Conduct training and gathering of many people were restricted. Schools are conducting class in a regular basis just from January 2021. This allow Helpcode staff to conduct orientation on Menstrual Hygiene Management to all the targeted girls who receive the hygiene kits in all the Secondary and Lower Secondary schools in Chitwan.

Sheila make aware of targeted girls and other participants about the misconception, general practice, hygienic behaviour on monthly cycle and the negative impact of unhygienic practice on women health.

Hygiene kit were distributing to 500 adolescent girls of different schools: each kit was composed by 2 set of reusable sanitary pad; 1 packet of reusable pad, 1 piece of underwear, nail cutter, 2 pieces of soap, 2 face masks, 1 comb, 1 set of toothpaste and brush.

The target schools in the municipality of Ichchhakamana in Chitwan were the following:

  • Sarbashanti secondary School: 150 girls
  • Triveni Barah Secondary school: 110 girls
  • Shree Secondary School Dhungre: 37 girls
  • Shree Majhgaun Secondary School: 45 girls
  • Shree National Basic School Fishling: 22 girls
  • Shree National Basic School Pamdada: 15 girls
  • Shree National Basic School Chanaute: 11 girls

Also Shree Pashupatinath Secondary School in Makwanpur reached 110 girls, so to a total of 500 adolescent girls that receive the kits and orientation at schools.

Sheila asked the girls how they manage menstrual hygiene during the previous month with school closure. During the period of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, majority of the girls have used the traditional type of pads made by old cloth pieces. Some of the girls from nearing highway have used the non-reusable pads.

The impact of sanitary pad in the rural community school is very positive and milestone for those girls who usually being absent in school during the menstrual period. Similarly, Helpcode interventions break the misconception and misunderstanding about menstrual process. Girls and teachers feel free to talk about menstrual hygiene.

Helpcode staff did the awareness program before distributing the educational materials to the all students. Moreover, Sheila and the teachers are frequently monitoring the impact of re-useable sanitary pads too. Everyone feel easy and safe to wear.

It is important to see that after this awareness activities, many girls feel comfortable to speak about their menstrual cycle, their practice of hygiene management in public. Even boys do not feel boring and hesitation to hear in the awareness program in the mass.

We are very grate to all the people that contribute to spread this project to favour girls’ education and women empowerment in the management of their health. Moreover, local authority and Nepal government has started to supply sanitary pads in community schools from this year. This is an important achievement to increase sustainability and the participation and retention of girls at schools.

With happy period, we are happy to improve girls’ health and wellbeing!

Jan 25, 2021

Chhin happy to ride back to school

Poverty is the most disruptive factor for girls’ education in Cambodia. Women in poorer provinces often face increased difficulty pursuing education. Besides needing to leave school to work for money, the distance from school is also a big challenge and prevents many girls from getting to school and having the chance of a better life. Many Cambodian girls face this problem; according to the World Bank, 79% of the Cambodian population lived in rural areas in 2018.

Helpcode Cambodia plan to buy 100 Bicycles to support girls from the poorest communities in the South of Cambodia get to school and begin peddling their way out of poverty to an education and a better life!

The project to date has raised 1000 EUR. The project has been significantly impacted by the COVID 19 Pandemic with schools closed since March 2020 and government restrictions on public gatherings and regional travel. To enable progress of the project with the funds raised to date the Helpcode Project Team has been working closely with School Directors to identify recipient female students of a Bicycle based on the national Poverty ID scale. To date 84 girls most in need have been identified from 40 villages in the provinces of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kandal and the informal settlements on the outskirts of Phnom Penh to receive a Bicycle once the project goal of 9,000 Euros is reached. The Project Team will continue to work with the School Directors to identify the remaining 16 girls to achieve the projects target of 100 female student recipients.

The Ministry of Education will reopen all public schools in Cambodia on January 15th 2021.

To ensure the safe implementation of the Pink Bicycle Project moving forward Helpcode Cambodia has developed and implemented a COVID 19 School Re Engagement Protocol. The purpose of this document is to provide clear and actionable guidance for safe operations by and for Helpcode staff in the prevention, early detection and control of COVID19 when operating in schools and other educational facilities.

The “Pink Bicycle” Project initiative aims to support the most vulnerable children in Cambodia with access to an education and to create supportive environments for children’s health and wellbeing within the communities and schools in which we work.

Chhin is 13 years old, studying in grade 6 at Oh Trochak Chet Primary School.

Her family received cash support of $100 from Helpcode 2 years ago as part of the Helpcode School Sponsorship Program. Chhin's family live 5 klms from the nearest school. With this money Chhin’s parents decided to purchase a bike to enable Chhin to get to school at a cost of 90$ and a school uniform at a cost of $10.

Chhin says: “I was very happy to get a Bike. Before I had a Bike I couldn’t go to school every day, the walk is long way and takes long time. I have also time to help my family at home. I share this bike with my younger sister so she can go to school too. The bike still works very well. We came to school every day because we have a bike”

Nov 30, 2020

Covid-19: Girls out of school in Mozambique

Since our latest update, the spread of COVD-19 in Mozambique has rapidly increased, reaching almost 14,000 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The sharpest increase occurred at the same time of a relaxation of emergency measures, that the government introduced in order to avoid a severe economic and social crisis that is already affecting many families, as most of the country is facing a “stressed” or “crisis” Food Insecurity Phase.

However, this new phase in the COVID-19 crisis management in Mozambique has not resulted in relevant changes in the education sector: primary and secondary schools remain closed, except for final year students. This means that the wellbeing and access to rights of over 10 million Mozambican children in school age is at risk due to:

  1. falling into poverty or increasing poverty severity;
  2. reduced learning opportunities;
  3. barriers to survival and good health
  4. increased risks of violence, abuse and exploitation of children in precarious situations (UNICEF 2020).[1]

“The longer schools are closed, the greater the loss of learning time and the greater the chances that children, particularly girls, will not return to the classroom when schools reopen” (UNICEF 2020).

Notwithstanding some relevant progresses in key education indicators over the last two decades, such as access to school, the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are amplifying the fragilities of the sector:

  • There are still almost two million primary-school-age children that are out of school;
  • More than one third of students drop out before Grade 3 and less than half complete primary, well below the average in Sub-Saharan African countries;
  • Due to several factors including high levels of teacher absenteeism, children only have 74 out of the 190 expected school days in the year;[2]
  • While 94 percent of girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade, only 11 percent continue on to study at the secondary level, and just 1 percent continue on to college;
  • 33.2 per cent of girls in urban areas and 44.4 per cent in rural areas get pregnant before the age of 18.1;
  • Among children who finish primary school, nearly two-thirds leave the system without basic reading, writing, and math skills[3];
  • 74 per cent of children live without electricity, and only 2 per cent have access to the internet;
  • Prior to the outbreak, 10 per cent of children or just over one million children aged 0−12, were orphans.

Helpcode Italia’s core activities in Mozambique include supporting schools in rural areas and vulnerable families through a multidimensional approach that aims at enhancing their productive capacity while raising awareness on the importance of sending kids to school.

Drop-out rates will peak once the school reopens, as children who have been out of formal schooling for almost a year have been diverting their time to productive and care activities to support family’s needs.

The severe economic crisis that is unfolding in Mozambique is expected to severely impact on children and to expose more girls to the risks of violence, early pregnancies and marriages, transactional sex – as coping strategies to escape poverty.

In this context, providing girls with menstrual kits is part of a more comprehensive strategy that Helpcode adopts in Mozambique and it’s considered critical to promote dialogue on sexual and reproductive health rights.

We thank you for your support.

 

[1] https://www.unicef.org/mozambique/media/2531/file/The%20Impacts%20of%20COVID-19%20on%20Children%20in%20Mozambique%20.pdf

[2] https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/mozambique

[3] https://www.usaid.gov/mozambique/education#:~:text=The%20Ministry%20of%20Education%20reports,of%20males%20(60%20percent).

 
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