New project aims to prepare girls for puberty, improve mental health

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A new project called “Care for Blossoms” has been launched in Guizhou Province to help prepare teenage girls for puberty and tackle common mental health issues.

The initiative was officially launched this month by the China Red Cross Foundation (CRCF) and Kao (China) Holding Co., Ltd., and is targeted at girls living in rural areas.

To mark the start of the project, a launch ceremony was held at the Central Primary School in the town of Zhongchao, Liping County, in Guizhou’s Qiandongnan Prefecture.

Zhou Kuiqing, assistant secretary-general of the China Red Cross Foundation and minister of CRCF’s Rescue Department, Toshikazu Chisaki, deputy general manager of Kao (China), He Shuping, member and vice chairman of the Guizhou Provincial Red Cross Party Leadership Group, Zhang Ping, deputy mayor of Liping County and chairman of Liping County’s Red Cross, were among those who attended the ceremony.

The Care for Blossoms project focuses on teaching schoolgirls facts about puberty and how to protect their mental health, increasing their resilience to anxiety, low self-esteem and other negative emotions caused by a lack of relevant information, said Zhou during the ceremony.

Over 40 percent of the students in the Central Primary School in Zhongchao are left-behind children (children who remain in rural regions of China while their parents leave to work in urban areas), according to Huang Mingyun, a teacher from the school.

These children rarely see their parents and lack family care, and the school has not regularly taught girls about periods in the past, Huang said. Girls’ mental and physical health can be affected if they don’t receive proper support and guidance when they start puberty.

Along with the ceremony, the project brought Zhou Wenxiu, a psychologist from Tongji University in Shanghai, to give a public lecture on menstruation to girls in the fifth and sixth grades of the school. Kao China also donated sanitary supplies and pamphlets on what to expect when a girl gets her first period.

Kao China has helped provide menstrual education to nearly 10,000 girls since 2016, said Chisaki. The Care for Blossoms project in partnership with China Red Cross Foundation will see the company play more of an active role in public welfare initiatives.