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Faleasiu female youth grateful for awareness

Not-for-profit organisation Brown Girl Woke has gone into partnership with various organisations to run workshops in Faleasiu on women’s health with a specific focus on menstrual health and hygiene.

The organisation’s founder, Maluseu Doris Tulifau, told the Samoa Observer that due to restrictions brought on by the current state of emergency (S.O.E.), not all young women in the village were able to attend the workshop on Wednesday. 

"Two different groups at the same village, we were supposed to do 50 ladies but because of S.O.E. we split them up into groups," she said.

The workshop, which coincided with Menstrual Hygiene Day on Thursday, was a collaboration between B.G.W., Australia Aid, the National University of Samoa’s Nursing Program and not-for-profit groups Give Alofa and New Zealand Days for Girls.

Maluseu credited and thanked Samoan fashion designer Afa Ah Loo, Give Alofa and Days for Girls for donating reusable sanitary pads as well as their partners for their support.

"We want to thank Afa Ah Loo, N.G.O. Give Alofa and Days for Girls New Zealand for donation of reusable pads. Thank you to Australian aid for dap funding to make sure we can do this project on speaking to mothers and daughters on puberty, periods and hygiene,” she said. “We also want to thank our partners N.U.S. Nursing Program’s Ramona Boodoosingh, Faavaivaiomanu Fiu, and Margaret Yandall for their part of our medical team to answer questions for mothers and daughters and hygiene.”

Emphasising that it was important for the workshop participants to get know more about menstrual health and hygiene, Maluseu said all the products which were donated by their various partners were distributed at the end of the workshop.

We wanted to make sure that we can have workshops before we can give all these great products to young girls and mothers. So with the help of the N.U.S. Nursing Program we partner to do just that," she added. "They would cover all the medical questions on periods and hygiene while BGW did presentations on reusable pads and having discussion circles with mothers and daughters on the importance of speaking to each other openly about puberty, periods and hygiene.”

The group also talked to mothers on how to make reusable pads and they are also reaching out to run workshops in villages in both Upolu and Savai’i.

"With the funding from Australian Aid we can do four workshops that will end with teaching mothers on how to make reusable pads and how to earn income by making reusable pads for B.G.W. projects to go all over Samoa and Savai'i. We have been able to give 100 packets of reusable pads to our projects," she added.

Workshop participants Vitolina Pili and Susan Leota say the awareness program on Wednesday had a positive impact on them, as they are in their teens and it is an age group that faces numerous challenges.

"I am really grateful and happy about this program. I have learnt how to deal with issues that may arise and also been able to learn about ladies' menstrual cycle from these people," said Ms Pili.

Ms Leota said she found information exchanged on a woman’s menstrual cycle as very helpful as she has never understood it. 

"The importance of this program is it helps us to understand and to know how to use the easy way when our menstrual cycle strikes, we have to use ways in which money is not in use," she added.

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