A Donation Ceremony was held on Thursday 13th January at the SITE Auditorium Mont Fleuri, whereby a supply of sanitary pads were donated to the Ministry of Education, by VIJAY Construction Limited. The event was graced by the presence of President Wavel Ramkalawan and the First Lady Mrs Linda Ramkalawan. Also present to witness this auspicious ceremony were: the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin; Members of the National Assembly for Women’s Caucus; Principal Secretary for Education Sector Development, Mr John Lesperance; Principal Secretary for Family Affairs Mr Clive Roucou; Officials from the Ministry of Education and other distinguished guests.
The donation, which includes a first consignment of six months supply of the sanitary products, is aimed to all school girls in State and Private Schools, as well as in Professional Centres in Seychelles. This great gesture was received by student representatives of all secondary schools, accompanied by their Headteachers. The donation sprouted from a motion tabled in September 2021 by the Member for the National Assembly for Glacis, who is also the Chairperson of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, Honourable Regina Esparon. In her intervention before the National Assembly, she pointed out that menstruation is a normal health process for women and girls. She proceeded to call upon the Government and Stakeholders to start discussions on making sanitary products accessible and affordable to all girls and women in the country, who are finding it difficult to purchase these essential products due to economic difficulties aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing everyone present prior to the handover, Mr Vijay Patel of Vijay Patel Seychelles Ltd expressed that it is always with pleasure and pride that his company takes part in a project that will benefit the people of Seychelles. He stated, “This business of sanitary pads is an essential thing which I know about and has been participating in it in other places. It did not occur to me that there is a need here, so it is my pleasure that I have been given this opportunity to participate in something that is necessary and good for the people.”
On her part, Honourable Regina Esparon expressed her heartfelt gratitude to everyone who have heard the unified voice of Members of the National Assembly on this pertinent issue which affects many girls, particularly in this unprecedented time… and have taken this issue seriously. She highlighted, “This donation will surely be of great help for the girls in need and it will guarantee that they have the sanitary products at their disposal at their school. This will enable them to remain comfortable without interrupting their studies.”
Minister Justin Valentin defined the initiative by Vijay Construction Ltd as “a new socio-economic dimension being added to quality education”, in that it ensures that access to quality education remains a priority. The Minister further remarked, “The message is clear and simple: no girl will be denied access to education because of her inability to access sanitary products.” He also expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to Mr Patel for pushing the agenda brought forth by the National Assembly and taken up by the Government.
Addressing those present, President Ramkalawan stated, “Today’s donation which is of National importance is allowing us to provide access to sanitary pads for all our girls, marking an important milestone for Seychelles in not only ensuring that the product is made available and free of charge, but also, denotes a symbolic gesture of our respect of the dignity of our girls. ”The President further commended Honourable Esparon for tabling the motion and all Members including the male Members of the National Assembly, who vehemently provided their support. He additionally expressed his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Mr Vijay Patel on behalf of the Government of Seychelles.