NAWIC Guam continues Sottera mission

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From left: Derrick Santos, Principal; Paul Tibudan, Counselor; Peggy Denney, Immediate Past President NAWIC Ch. 381 Guam, Marcela Takai, Counselor; Danica Bacani, School Nurse; Silvio Quinene, Vice Principal; and Joanne Messier, President-Elect NAWIC Ch. 381 Guam, gather at Inarajan Middle School for NAWIC’s Project Sottera donation of menstrual products to the school on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (BWA photo)

Project Sottera, the collaborative effort between the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and the non-profit organization Island Girl Power to eliminate period poverty on Guam, may not be needed too much longer if a bill introduced by Senator Amanda Shelton at the request of the Guam Youth Congress is passed into law.

Bill 97-36, the “Period Poverty Act of 2021,” will provide menstrual hygiene products for female students in public school grades five through 12, in the nursing or counselor’s offices, at no charge to the students.

The Guam chapter of National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), which promotes careers in construction for women, has been providing menstrual products for Inarajan Middle School since the inception of Project Sottera back in 2019.

“NAWIC Guam is happy to support our community and thankful to the Bureau of Women’s Affairs for giving us an avenue to help support our young women to stay in school,” said Joanne Messier, NAWIC President-elect and Operations Manager at Architectural Painting Services, LLC.

Project Sottera kicked off in 2019 by asking women’s organizations to donate menstrual products to public schools in order to allow girls to stay in school during their menstrual cycle. Sottera is the Chamorro word for when a young woman first starts menstruating.

“We are grateful to NAWIC and all of the other women’s organizations and private companies that have supported Project Sottera, and we are excited that the Guam Youth Congress has authored this bill to combat period poverty,” said Jayne Flores, Bureau of Women’s Affairs director. “Our goal is to eventually promote sustainable menstrual products on our island, to further empower girls and young women, and to protect our environment,” Flores said.

To testify on Bill 97-36, the “Period Poverty Act of 2021,” please contact the office of Senator Amanda Shelton at (671) 969-2574/989-2572 or via email at officeofsenatorshelton@guamlegislature.org.

(Bureau of Women’s Affairs Release)

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