A 300 level student of English and Literary Studies Education, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, and a girl-child advocate, Miss Harmonypeace Sylvester Uchedu, has distributed toiletries and sanitary pads to primary and secondary school students in Ikwo Local Government Area of the State.
The female rights advocate said her desire in life is to put smiles on the face of the girl-child by using the resources at her disposal to fight for their rights as well as cater for some of their peculiar needs.
“I live for the purpose of the girl-child”, She said.
Speaking on her advocacy which has made her popular within and around the University community, Miss Sylvester Uchendu, noted that the difficulties she faced while growing up inspired her to embark on humanitarian activities, adding that she doesn’t want any girl to go through what she experienced as a child.
“Growing up was not very funny, it was a hard one. I had to use pieces of cloth as sanitary pad during my monthly menstrual period because sanitary pad was costly and my parents could not afford to buy it for me.
‘’I remember what I passed through especially during one of my heavy flows, the cloth I used as pad could not absorb the blood. It was then that I vowed to use any opportunity I have for the improvement of the wellbeing of the girl-child’’.
Narrating how the idea of distributing toiletries and sanitary pads to students started, she stated how she visited the female hostels of the University, and found out that some of the girls were unable to buy sanitary pads and toiletries, so she decided to start distributing sanitary pads and toiletries to them and later extended it to some primary and secondary schools within Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
She noted that she has established a non-profit organization called “Touch Foundation” through which she advocates for the rights of women especially the girl-child, noting however that her idea of feminism is advocating for equal opportunities for women.
‘’When I see what people go through especially girls, it gives me sleepless nights as they are the most vulnerable in the society’’, she noted.
She added that in Igbo land, females were always looked down on as if they are of little or no importance to the society, advising that women should be given equal opportunity to prove their worth, and enjoined women to stand up to their rights instead of complaining and resigning to fate.
On her plans after graduation, Miss Sylvester Uchendu, affirmed that she will focus on her Foundation, where she hopes to fight for the rights of the downtrodden, including young females and males alike, as according to her, “boys are also being molested in the society”.
Explaining further, she noted that she also aspires to become a Professor of English language and a certified educationist in order to work with other people and organizations to provide guidance to young people, and prayed for availability of funds to carry out her dreams.
The young female rights activist who is also a public speaker, trainer, writer and counsellor, admonished young people to be focused on their dreams and aspirations, noting that without determination and focus they will not be able achieve their desires in life. She also encouraged young people to know what they want in life and purse it with resilience even if the economy is not favourable enough.
Concluding, Miss Sylvester Uchendu appreciated the Management of the University for their efforts in making the institution a conducive environment for learning, with zero tolerance to exam malpractice, cultism, sexual harassment and other social vices, adding that AE-FUNAI is one of the best universities that any parent could wish their child to be, even as she also advised students to work hard and be serious-minded if they intend to succeed in the University.
“It is one of the best Universities in Nigeria. It is only in AE-FUNAI that students have to put in their best to succeed. The University brings the best in you”, she said.
The schools that have benefited from the humanitarian gestures of Miss Sylvester Uchendu include Urban Primary and Secondary School, Independence Layout Primary School, Life Heritage International School, Anglican Primary School and Munator Central School, all in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.