In 2014, people started celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day to raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene. It is celebrated on May 28 and the date represents the standard 28-day menstrual cycle. In addition, the month of May represents the 5th month of the calendar, which means the five days of menstruation. Periods are a natural occurrence and visit almost all women once a month as soon as they reach puberty and until menopause.
However, some people feel uncomfortable even when someone mentions the word “rule”. We need to let go of the shame and start talking more openly and honestly about menstruation, educating society and parents that it is a normal biological process that every woman has to go through, and that it is not something to be done. to fear.
Bisola Adeyemi and her team at Bevy of the Elites Foundation are committed to educating society on this subject and changing the socio-cultural perception attached to “periods”. Since 2018, her organization has reached more than 4,500 girls with information about menstrual hygiene and sanitary pads.
A Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur, Marketing Affiliate and Girls’ Advocate, Bisola holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Babcock University and an Associate’s Certificate from the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She was also recently certified as a Program Presenter with the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation for her My Body is My Body campaign.
She started her NGO during her final year at university, and despite all the difficulties and restrictions she encountered at school, she was able to reach out to communities around Alishan Remo and the State of ‘Iperu Remo Ogun, with information on menstruation, menstrual hygiene, including its truths and myths. She shares her inspiring journey in this educational and insightful interview.
I AM a believer in Jesus Christ and his finished works. I am the third of six children – five girls and one boy. I am from Osun State. I love to travel and have meaningful conversations. I had the most memorable childhood, from attending school to outdoor games, church activities, school and religious competitions, among others that helped me become who I am. today.
How I Founded Bevy Of The Elites Foundation
It was in 2016; I attended a group mentoring session and heard God clearly order me to create a foundation to teach girls about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, chastity, body awareness and family involvement in the development of children. It used to be the Girl Child Foundation, but due to the popularity of the name we were unable to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This prompted my siblings and I to come up with the name Bevy of the Elites Foundation, which clearly explains our vision and mission, namely: a group of scholars where people, especially females, can learn more about their bodies and their development.
Myths that have affected menstruation and menstrual hygiene over the years
The popular myth: if a man touches you as a woman, you will get pregnant. This myth has been around for as long as I can remember, and I think it is a myth that has come to stay. Of course, as we get older we learn that it’s not physical contact, but sexual intercourse that gets a woman pregnant. It caused a lot of girls to lose their self-esteem. It has also led to many issues ranging from lesbianism to rabies among others as teens are not told the clear truth from childhood.
Another myth is that the purchase of sanitary products like sanitary napkins should be kept confidential and hidden in non-transparent nylons. Whereas a sanitary napkin is like buying toothpaste, bath soap and the rest; they are all personal hygiene products. I also hear a lot that a girl shouldn’t talk about her period in public because it’s a shameful thing and makes you vulnerable when in fact it’s not something to be ashamed of.
Balancing the school and the Bevy Of Elites foundation
I attended a school where we were only allowed to leave the school environment once a week. I had to plan my schedule to accommodate NGO programs in schools around Ilishan Remo and Iperu Remo Ogun State. Most of the time, I have a habit of chatting with my friends after class during the day, which must have been well planned. So, have I ever sacrificed the school for the execution of a project by the Foundation? Yes! Many times! Well done to my friends and volunteers who always come through.
My take on the ever-growing problem of rape in the country
A common assumption is that rape is mainly committed by strangers, which is not true; the majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. In addition, no type of clothing is an invitation to sex or implies consent. What a woman was wearing when she was raped is simply irrelevant. Rape is never the victim’s fault.
This established, the problem of rape in Nigeria is increasing day by day and all children and adolescents should be educated about it. Parents also have a role to play. Most children communicate the assault to their parent / guardian, but they don’t take children seriously, which is why rape happens most of the time.
In many of our programs at Bevy of the Elites Foundation, we have now integrated the My Body is My Body campaign, as several girls talk about their rape cases and that they are not safe with a particular group of people. people and we are also doing our best to ensure that information about rape is communicated and handled appropriately.
Why I studied accounting and my childhood ambitions
Well I will say that growing up it was either you chose to be a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor, or an engineer. I followed the trend of the time and decided to become an accountant since I chose the commercial line in high school. Otherwise, I would have become a teacher. I love to teach and this is one of the things I love to do at Bevy of the Elites Foundation and other places like the church I attend, Celebration Church International.
Changes and policies I would implement if I were President of Nigeria for one day
Changes regarding menstruation and sanitary napkin availability, I will make sure every school has a sanitary napkin bank where girls can freely enter to pick up pads during or before their period. I will also sign a bill to ensure that all girls go to school up to university level. No girl should be left behind because of certain cultural beliefs that girls are meant to be in the kitchen. I will also ensure that the curriculum in primary and secondary schools is redesigned to reflect the reality of the world we live in.
Memorable events since the creation of the Bevy Of The Elites Foundation
All of our events / outreaches are memorable as we meet different girls. I will say that the most memorable event was when we contacted the girls from Babs Fafunwa (upper and secondary schools) Ojodu, Berger in 2019. The girls came out in droves; everyone received a sanitary napkin and were happy. You could literally see the glint in their eyes.
I also remembered a community outreach we had at Ikenne Palace in Ogun State where I and a partner were to advertise the program on HOPE FM. Many young girls were enlightened, and I also learned a lot from this community about their lifestyle and hygiene practices.
Three women who inspire me and why
My mother is a go-getter. Never heard of someone who always knocks out her goals, she does it every time.
Ola Sulaimon- She inspires me because she runs an NGO and is a chartered accountant. We have a lot in common from the college we attended to the way we have shaped our lives.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala- The first woman appointed to head the World Trade Organization (WTO). I mean, she’s a woman changing the status quo for the rest of us.
In the next five years
I see myself exactly where God wants me to be. Reach the world for God and contribute my quota to humanity.
Advice to young women
Eliminate societal pressure; lowers the level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Some examples are the ways in which women are pressured to marry and have children, and even after having a child, the pressure continues over when the next child will come, pressures such as judgment only on the date of birth. appearance, pressure to have sex, and substance abuse among others. I will let them know that they must not model their lives on the pressure of society, otherwise they will burn out.