THERE is no doubt that students suffered so much during the pandemic. They were forced to stay at home. Those who lived in congested areas were not even allowed to play outside. It is true that the pandemic really messed with the lives of a whole generation of children.
As if learning wasn’t difficult enough, they had to study online. Their parents, who were already burdened with rising school fees, had to upgrade Internet connections at home and buy gadgets they couldn’t afford. Kids had to sit through hours of online classes when they should be in classrooms face-to-face with their teachers and peers.
I may still wear a mask 90 percent of the time in public and I still don’t go out much, but I’m glad that the schools are open once again and kids are back where they belong. I’m also happy that big corporations are paying attention to the needs of children.
Feminine care brand Modess (www.modess.com.ph) launching an advocacy for teen girls in relation to their monthly period is good news to me.
The multinational brand recently had a community engagement event attended by high-school students from San Antonio High School in Parañaque City.
During the event, the all-teen-girl audience learned about the importance of having the right sanitary pad partner for their menstruation needs. The outreach program, dubbed #BeNextPeriodReady, was staged by Johnson & Johnson Philippines (J&J Philippines) alongside ABS-CBN Foundation and Miss Universe Philippines to support Modess’ advocacy on menstrual health education.
This advocacy is related to the lockdown as many teenagers got their menstruation during that time and the experience of having your period at home is very different than when you’re in the classroom. I mean, I’m sure many of us have horror stories related to having your menstruation while in class. Menstruation is a subject that young girls can’t talk about freely with anyone, especially their parents and elders.
There are also many fallacies about menstruation. Growing up, girls are told not to exercise when they have their period when the truth is that physical activity relieves menstrual symptoms and makes you feel energized. Periods also don’t last for exactly one week. They can be longer or shorter. Anything excessively longer than a week needs medical attention though. There are also many ways of dealing with period blood. Women may use tampons and menstrual cups but the most common and widely available is the sanitary pad. It is also the easiest to use as it does not require a learning curve.
“Modess is committed to help teens improve the state of their menstrual health, hygiene and habits the next time they get their period,” said Jason Khu, senior brand manager for Modess of J&J Philippines.
During the event, Khu also talked about the reality that teens faced during the pandemic with regard to having their first period.
The ABS-CBN Foundation also joined in advancing the advocacy on menstrual health and hygiene for our young girls. Its involvement is in helping distribute 2,500 menstrual hygiene kits to different schools and communities nationwide as young girls go back to in-person learning.
Beauty queens Celeste Cortesi, Miss Universe Philippines 2022, and Annabelle McDonnell, Miss Universe 1st runner, were also present during the event.
Cortesi shared her menstrual health journey to the students and gave some advice.
“Young girls should be able to talk about it freely with other people. Society should be more open about the need for girls to have access to menstrual health information and be next-period ready. As Miss Universe Philippines, I continue to inspire girls through our way of being relatable and campaigning the message heavily everywhere,” said Cortesi.
Toward the end of the event, the students, together with the ABS-CBN Foundation and the J&J team, joined the mural painting activity, where the girls were asked to think of the one word or phrase that they wish to empower themselves, a goal that has been set by the brand’s campaign.