Like all other children raised by single mothers, I have had my own share of challenges. The biggest of them all was poverty which was a main obstacle in achieving my dreams of getting quality education. Thanks to the support of my mother and community support, I am currently pursuing a second Master degree program in Media, Communication and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
As I grew up, I have always been inspired by community development because I understand the importance of having someone support you in you to achieve your dreams. I had engaged in different national and international activities promoting women's rights and support young women access education and economic empowerment tools. In 2015, while working in refugee camps in Cameroon with an international organization, I had an encounter that transformed my life and inspired me to start an organization called Girls Excel. While at the refugee camp, I would see girls having their periods and out rightly bleeding out without access to sanitary pads during this monthly ordeal. This pushed me to look within the rural communities around me and I discovered that even Cameroonian girls faced these same challenges without anyone to support them or create access to sanitary pads or menstrual and reproductive health education. This experience forced me to think about the consequences of the lack of quality menstrual hygiene management in Cameroon on the academic, health and professional lives of girls and women. The shame, public humiliation and taboo surrounding this topic and the profound impact that it has on the overall mental and psychological health of girls and young women in rural communities in Cameroon.
Without money or any financial support at hand, I resigned from my job and started Girls Excel (www.girlsexcel.org), a social impact organization that creates access to menstrual and reproductive health education and sanitary pads for girls in rural communities in Cameroon. In the beginning, it was very challenging as people cringed whenever I approached them to talk about Menstrual Hygiene Management. People were very uncomfortable about this topic because of the taboo that is associated with menstrual health. Many people advised me that with my level of education and experience in community management, Girls Excel is not the kind of project that I ought to initiate because it was embarrassing. Sometimes, these conversations left me wishing that I never started the project but I kept on moving ahead, using my savings to promote project activities, purchase sanitary pads and distribute to girls. In 2016, we had tremendous support from the entire Cameroonian online community as we received support through an online donation leading to the distribution of 500 packets of disposable sanitary pads, 150 packets of reusable sanitary pads and underwear for 100 girls in 2 communities in Cameroon.
Today, I am happy that I continued working on the project and supporting the girls who need this support because to see the impact that this project is having in the lives of the girls in the communities in the communities where we work is amazing. I am hoping that through the WP online training, I will be able to incorporate the use of online media in empowering the girls in our communities in learning more about Menstrual and Reproductive Health Education.
How to Get Involved
You can support us by donating to our online fundraising https://www.w4.org/en/project/provide-girls-rural-areas-refugee-camps-ca...