News : Sexual Health Helpline Launched for Adolescents
Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sept 9, 2015 -- A helpline -- 09612 600 600 --was launched to answer sexual health related queries, quell the curiosities of adolescent minds and provide them with information to seek help if needed.
A part of "Generation Breakthrough" project of Concerned Women for Family Development (CWFD), the helpline "Dosh Unisher Mor Helpline : 09612 600 600" will remain open from 9:00am to 9:00pm every day except on government holidays.
Prof Fahima Khatun, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE), inaugurated the helpline at the capital's BIAM Model School and College (BMSC) at Eskaton.
About the taboo on open discussion of adolescence, Khatun said teachers are not talking about this directly with children, rather they are asking students to read the chapter on reproductive health by themselves.
Since adolescents could not share the changes they are going through, they get into drugs, and other problems such as violence against women, early marriages and sexual harassments take place, she added.
The project started in 2012 in 300 schools and 50 madrasas aiming to provide training to teachers on Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS), a curriculum developed in India and later adapted for Bangladeshi people, said Mufaweza Khan, executive director of CWFD.
The teachers in turn will educate students on the issue, she said, adding that the project was funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy through the UNFPA.
The helpline will allow adolescents to learn about these unknown matters by asking someone whose face cannot be seen (over the phone), said Mirza Kamrun Nahar, representative of UNFPA.
With technical help from Plan International Bangladesh, the project is being implemented with joint efforts of the education, and women and children's affairs ministry.
Referring to discussions about minimum legal marriageable age for girls, Soumya Brata Guha, deputy country director of Plan International Bangladesh, said, "We talked with children and all of them said they do not want to get married before becoming independent and established."
Prof Shamsul Huda, director (training) of DSHE, also spoke at the programme chaired by Prof Kalyanmaya Sarker, principal of BMSC.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, September 11, 2015