portia gana

Ghanaian-Canadian model Portia Gana and her Portia Gana Foundation have given out sanitary pads and period cups to over one thousand girls in struggling communities, senior and junior high schools in the Upper West region.

This is part of the model’s #Pads4AllGhana campaign to fight period poverty that she has been executing for close to a year. Period poverty is the lack of access to basic menstrual hygiene products resulting in missing classes, dropping out, and subsequently teen pregnancies.

The campaign’s goal this year was to provide menstrual products to 1000 senior high school students and girls in need in northern Ghana and they exceeded their goal. The foundation is currently working in the upper west region which has a high teenage pregnancy rate. It hopes to help combat that with quarterly donations which include menstrual and sexual health educational talks by medical professionals from the area.

Aside from menstrual hygiene products Portia also gave out a few thousand cedis worth of clothes to the neonatal and children wards of St Joseph’s hospital in Jirapa, as part of the foundation’s #NewBornsInNeed project. Under this project the foundation has been able to provide diapers, formula, baby food, medicine and food to underprivileged new mothers and orphans. This December alone she donated one thousand diapers to the maternity ward and NICU in Jirapa.

Detailing why she chose the Upper West region as the destination for her project, she explained “I have a nurse Facebook friend who works in the Upper West and had been sharing many cases of babies and children in the hospital needing financial assistance.”

“After donating a few times I wanted to know why she had so many cases, that’s when I saw the teen pregnancy rates were high per capita in the northern region and discovered links to Period poverty. I found there was one organization helping the upper East region but the nurse’s foundation was struggling to help in the Upper West so I decided to jump in and help.”

She added that “two senior high schools reached out to us to help so we are helping the girls in the boarding schools as well as girls in the struggling neighboring communities. They consist of elementary school girls, junior high, senior high, and trade school girls in multiple districts in the Upper West.”

The Portia Gana Foundation’s current objectives are centered around health and sustainable change; Newborn and infant medical bill assistance, menstrual product supply to underprivileged teens to fight period poverty and teen pregnancy, hospital equipment supply to underfunded clinics, startup business support for underprivileged new mothers to make them self sufficient, and food and clothing donation to NICU, children’s wards, orphans and others in need.

The foundation has so far raised GHC8,000 for #Pads4AllGhana and has been able to provide over half a year’s supply of pads to 1000 teen girls as well as period cups for 50 teens that last for ten years. The long term aim is to raise at least GHC13,000 quarterly to provide pads and more period cups which are a sustainable reusable solution. It would like to hand out reproductive health educational pamphlets along with the donations so these young girls can stay informed and hopefully curb the pregnancy rates.

The foundation occasionally takes on individual cases, this year’s individual case was providing new dentures for a
young unemployed adolescent woman who had a serious accident while in school destroying her teeth. They raised 3000ghc to get her dental woes fixed and she now has a retail job at a mall.

Although founded in 2015, the Portia Gana Foundation was officially registered in Ghana as a nonprofit organization on March 10th, 2021. The foundation has raised roughly GHC20,000 so far in 2021 for all its projects and aims to raise at least three times as much next year to reach it’s targets and help as many in need as possible.

When asked why she started the foundation she said, “I’ve always had this desire to help those around me and I feel it is our responsibility to help others in any way we can so I wanted to create a means for people with time or resources to spare to help others.”

Portia concluded, “I plan on making this a long-lasting foundation that brings a sustainable impactful change in Ghana, with the community’s help we will help improve the quality of life for our fellow Ghanaians for years to come”.

The foundation accepts lightly used children’s clothes and goods. If you have items to donate or would like to volunteer contact them to find out how you can help them make a difference. Visit their website portiaganafoundation.org today.