“Your Menses Should Not Get in the Way of Your Education”
--- Delta Iota Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated donates 260 boxes of reusable pads to students
As part of World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Friday, May 28th, 2021, the Delta Iota Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated donated 260 boxes of reusable menstrual pads to students of the Ann Sandell Independent School in Paynesville to keep them in classes during their menstrual cycles.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated is a group of professional women who come together in sisterhood to help communities with basic needs and services for the underprivileged. Many of their initiatives fall under what the sorority calls Z-HOPE, Zetas Helping Others Excel.
Liberian dentist Dr. Rachel Townsend of Monrovia, Liberia had joined the Alpha Chapter of the sorority while attending Howard University in the early 1930’s. She graduated with a dental degree and then returned home to Monrovia to encourage the charter of the chapter in 1948. Delta Iota Zeta is the first chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. chartered on the continent of Africa and the first Black Greek-lettered organization to be established internationally.
Delta Iota Zeta Chapter, in partnership with Liberian-owned NGO, Payless Cloth Pads, made the donation with the aim of educating and creating awareness on menstrual hygiene, and helping the students feel comfortable during their menses.
May 28 is observed globally as a day to openly talk about ‘Menstrual Poverty' and the ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, used the occasion to bring smiles & knowledge and remove the stand of shame associated with young girls on their menses.
The gesture aimed to reduce menstrual poverty among underprivileged women and girls, and help the students to feel comfortable during their menses while in school.
“Your menses should not get in the way of your life, especially your education,” said Ms. Freda Koomson, President of the sorority’s Liberia chapter. “Let's support our girls and improve educational attainment, attendance, and achievement by ending period poverty today and every day,” Koomson added.
She encouraged the students not to allow their period to make them feel uncomfortable and that they should feel free to discuss it with people whenever they need help.
“Menstruation is not something to be embarrassed of. All over the world today people are talking about menstruation. Menstruation should not stop you from going to school. It’s normal.”
Rachel K. Reeves, Marketing Agent for Payless Cloth Pad, explained that the company was founded in 2019 after a survey was conducted in six counties and they realized that many women and girls were still using ‘banana leaves’ as a pad.
“Our CEO, Mr. Augustine Kou, was opportune to take part in a competition and he emerged as the best entrepreneur with three prizes, and he said he could not sit back to see women at a disadvantage.”
She said the cloth pad is made from all natural materials and does not contain any chemical substances and is safe to reuse once it is washed and dried.
Rachel Ogieva, Dean of Students of the school, thanked the organization for educating and empowering the students on their menstrual cycle. She said most of the students cannot afford to buy the sanitary pads, but the donation of Payless Cloth Pads through Zeta Phi Beta will help them and the school who has occasionally purchased pads for girls in need.
Ms. Ogieva encouraged the students to use the pads and open conversations with their mothers about their cycle.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Ruth Kwaidah, a 12th-grade student, thanked members of Zeta Phi Beta and Payless Cloth Pads for reaching out to their school to help them with free pads that will help keep them in school.
Mrs. Leabeh Gbowee, Proprietress of the school, said “Today is a special day for our female students because we spend a lot of money on pads. The school is not rich, but we have to keep you in school. It will save Ann Sandell Independent School a lot of money in support of our girls.”