April 17, 2023 -Hope Estate: On Friday April 14, 2023, Minister Omar Ottley accompanied by Minister Rudolph Samuel, Coordinator of Teen Times Mrs. Rochelayne Richardson-Romey, Staff of Community Development Family & Humanitarian Affairs Mrs. Elba Hanson-Flanders and Mrs. Elencia M. Baptiste-Boasman, for the handing over of Feminine Hygiene products to two School Boards.
The handing over marked the commencement of a distribution process of feminine hygiene products to the various subsidized & public schools. At the handing over, representatives from the Roman Catholic School Board, School Manager Edmaira Jacobs and the Department of Public Education Dept. Head Mr. Daison Marks, received the products on behalf of their respective organizations. Each School Board is responsible for ensuring that all schools under their charge, receive the necessary products. This initiative came about due to the concerns raised by Teen Times on the issue of Period Poverty, which was introduced in Parliament earlier this year drawing attention to the importance of a Period Products Legislation and the stigma associated with period poverty. Period Poverty is defined as the struggle or inability to access menstrual products due to financial constraints.
In response to this concern, the Ministry of Public Health Social Development and Labour through Minister Ottley sought to address the matter by carrying out an investigation on the reality of Period Poverty in Sint Maarten School. A two-prong approach was employed to this end. 1) The initial investigation throughout the month of March in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports. 2) While Minister Ottley awaited the outcome of said investigation, he arranged for the distribution of feminine hygiene products to all institutions through his network.
The Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs is responsible for coordinating the distribution of Feminine Hygiene products. Distribution will continue at the Gaston Boasman Community Help Desk Hope Estate throughout this week. School Boards were notified and are encouraged to make the necessary arrangements to have the products collected. For further information School Boards can reach out to Gaston Boasman Help Desk on 559-0819 or email Elencia.Baptiste-Boasman@sintmartengov.org.
Minister Omar Ottley wishes to thank all those who have contributed in one way or another, to ensure that our girls are not left wanting for products when that very sensitive but important time of the month comes around. Minister Ottley will continue to work assiduously to ensure a permanent and plausible solution is realized.