By The Inspirer Writer.
Female students especially those reaching their menstrual period at G.S Nyarugenge in Kinazi Sector, Ruhango District said they are lucky to find a girl’s room as a health facility which will help them to handle their menstrual period without leaving the school.
They claimed they used to be absent in classes due to the fact that they had no facility to help them cater for this issue while at school.
Some of the girls at this school say they could experience many absences in classes because of failure to handle hygiene when they are in their menstrual period because the school had not a conducive environment for them to stay and do hygiene on their body. However, they say that the school was given some materials to facilitate girls during their period but without a special room for that.
Fideline Dushimimana, 13, is a student in primary six at this school. She said: “ When a girl is in her period, she calls the female dean of students or a teacher who is in charge of the girl’s room to open for her and go for a rest, for example when a girl has abdominal pain or headache,”
Noella Irakoze, 15, is also in primary six B, she explains how a girl used to do during her period.
“When a girl is in her period the first time, she enters the girl’s room and her fellow elders show her how to wash and give her the sanitary pad, the sleep and the butter to anoint,” she said, comparing to the past when they had no girl’s room where they had only equipment without the bathroom and other facilities, which implied the girl to go home or to enter the toilet at school to wear the sanitary pad and return in class when the period is at early stage.
Marie Goreth Mutoni, the dean of student at this school is in advanced level of secondary school. She said that the girl’s room helped them to avoid dropouts for girls.
“Before having this girl’s room, we used to keep our hygiene equipment in our dinning room, any girl could be ashamed to handle her hygiene in that environment which was not conducive as anyone could see you. Anyone could realize what you are going to do in the dinning room before the real time of eating and other students could continue harassing you when you are in the classroom because they have realized you are in your menstrual period,” Mutoni said.
She added that some could prefer to go home instead of using the school refectory to secure their honor against their colleague’s harassment, which could affect their education performance.
Francoise Mutuyimana, a teacher in charge of the girl’s room reiterated that the situation was not easy for the girls during their period, noting that the present situation allows a girl to use less than 15 minutes from the girl’s room to return in class.
“Despite having the hygiene equipment by then, we had other challenges such as lack of a special room for girls to wash, but the today’s situation with the girls’ room is more advantageous, thanks to Gikuriro Programme, a USAID-funded initiative to provide us with the girl’s room,” Mutuyimana said.
The room has all possible equipment such as the bathroom, additional clothes for girls, skin butter and the bed to help a girl who may be suffering from abdominal pain to rest for a while before returning in class.
However, some girls from poor families still struggle to use non-hygienic piece of clothes from home to school due to lack of sanitary pads.
Jean Bosco Nsanzimana, the School’s Headteacher said that the school will discuss with parents during the next meeting to see how to help girl students access the sanitary pads at school and at home.
G.S Nyarugenge is one of 8 schools which benefited from Gikuriro Programme in Ruhango District by giving them a girl’s room, which contributed to equal learning opportunity for both girls and boys.
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