By Evans Ahorsu
Mabel Senaa Bonsuuri is 27year old community developer, a graduate and founder of iHelp Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Development Management from the University for Development studies. She is currently working with young girls in rural communities in the Volta Region of Ghana on a project ONE GIRL ONE BOX PROJECT.
iHelp Africa is a Ghanaian voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit organisation working in rural Ghana to create an enabling environment to vulnerable individuals, provide avenues for children in rural and deprived communities to attain success, serve as a platform to re-direct the future of adolescent mothers and young boys who are out of school and offer support to women to develop themselves economically through skills training.
The main purpose of the One Girl One Box Project is to help provide teenage girls with sanitary pads in order to reduce absenteeism in schools. Having access to pad means many of these young girls will feel confident to stay in schools and keeping the female child in school is a sure way of providing and shaping a brighter future for her and her family as her education and subsequent career advancement would become the springboard with which the entire family breaks out of poverty.
Sanitary pad donated to a pupil of Fodome RC junior High School
Her target is to provide 1000 girls in 100 rural communities with sanitary pads by the end of 2019. She has already provided 726 girls in over 15 rural communities in the Volta Region of Ghana.
She believes Menstruation can adversely affect the health, education and self-esteem of young girls in society. By improving and tackling period-shame we can improve girls’ attendance and performance at school; break down taboos and misconceptions around menstruation; raise girls’ self-esteem and enable girls to fully participate in all aspects of society.
Some of the challenges she has faced within this period are the misconceptions people still against menstruation and also lack of funding to reach a larger number of girls in rural communities as a way of solving this challenge I recruit volunteers from across the globe to share their menstrual experiences with these girls and their communities so that the know menstruation is not peculiar to only girls their community and these volunteers help to raise funds to purchase pads to reach out to more girls.
Johanna a medical student from Lund University Sweden and Mabel having fun with the pupil after a menstrual hygiene talk session
Mabel has been fortunate to have excellent opportunities for growth. Her duties have expanded in many different areas and she has received several outstanding performance ratings. According to her she is ready to further expand her works and to be able to reach out, serve and impact her knowledge on a larger number of people in her field.
She stands strong as a change agent for development and thinks the best way a community can grow out of poverty is to have a society of innovative entrepreneurs who will make use of available resources at their reach to create a greater impact in their society no matter how little it is. She believes in giving women the tools they need to build their lives.