Tanzania today joins the rest of the world to celebrate the international day of the girl child, Mugabe Secondary school students highlight challenges they experience during their menstrual cycle.
The day is an international observance day declared by the United Nations. It focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face to promote girl empowerment.
In view of the above girl students at Mugabe secondary school have called on the government and the public at large to find solutions they face including lack of facilities for menstrual hygiene, sexual harassment to enable them have equal learning opportunities.
One of the students whose names are withheld has called on the school administration to refrain from punishing them by canning them on the buttocks.
“When I am in my menstrual cycle I experience stomach cramps and when beaten on my buttocks the pain increases,” she said.
Another student said their parents cannot afford to buy pads and are therefore forced to use makeshift pieces of clothes that are not reliable forcing them to remain home during the duration of the cycle.
“That’s not all, the school also lacks a dustbin for disposing the used pads making it very cumbersome,” she stressed.
Some of the students further highlighted how they are forced to have sexual relationships with their uncles who are taking care of them or else get taken out of school.
“Students who live with their uncles and depend on them for their daily needs are forced to have sexual relationship with them and if they refuse they are threatened to be taken out of school,” they said.
They further highlighted how they are sexually molested in fully packed commuter buses and when they try to raise their voices they are threatened by the culprits.
The Integrating Capacity and Community Advancement Organization (ICCAO) Managing Editor, Zahara Salehe said they work with youths in various capacities to understand their challenges and aspirations.
She noted that they have started a programme that will enable them visit schools in the country to understand the challenges students experience that they will share with the teachers and parents to find solutions.
“We believe that every child, youth whether boy or girl have equal right for opportunity,” she said.