The education prospects of a group of teenage girls in rural west Africa have been boosted with a little help from their friends in East Hampshire.
The Buriton Village to Village group (V2V) has launched a pioneering period product scheme in its sister community of Dominase in Ghana.
Over the next six months 50 teenage girls at two secondary schools will make, use and care for their own sustainable period products in the hope it will help them attend school more often.
The V2V group has linked with Girls Club Ghana, a small charity based in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, to run the project.
“Many of the girls cannot access or afford expensive products and this can lead to them missing one week in every four of their teenage school career,” said V2V chairman Doug Jones.
“Missing a quarter of their time at school has a major impact on their educational attainment, their confidence and self-esteem so we’ve been searching for ways to help.”
The new project began when the Buriton group employed Girls Club Ghana chief Rosina Ahot-Mensa and a seamstress to deliver two days training to the girls.
Rosina’s team helped the girls learn about menstrual hygiene and make their own, relatively cheap, sustainable period products.
The Buriton group paid for the materials for the products and a workbook to help the girls learn more about their periods.
The girls also received a Girls Club Ghana T-shirt and will attend regular meetings to discuss sexual health and other key issues.
“We spent quite a long time finding the right Ghanaian partner to deliver this training,” added Doug.
Rosina will make two more visits to the region over the next six months to monitor the project.
The schools will check any improvement in the girls’ attendance at classes. The V2V group has been supporting the Dominase region with health, education and sanitation projects for more than 20 years.
Its next fundraising event is a barn dance at the Tithe Barn, Ditcham on Saturday, January 27.
Details to purchase tickets, £10 each, and make donations are on www.buriton.info/event/big-buriton-barn-dance