Only 29 percent girls and 41 percent boys have access to correct information about puberty and hygiene in Pakistan

Karachi: Only 29 percent girls and 41 percent boys have access to correct information about puberty and hygiene in Pakistan. The lack of reliable information is shaping behavior and practices of majority of the youth who do not have skills and confidence to turn knowledge into decision making.

In order to raise awareness on these issues, address the physical and emotional challenges of adolescents and suggest ways to handle them, a mass awareness and advocacy campaign on reproductive health rights of Pakistani youth named ‘HAYAT’ was launched here Friday at a local hotel by Lifeline, a non-government organization.

Addressing a press conference, Chief Executive of Lifeline Omer Aftab said that the multimedia campaign will disseminate messages through TV, Radio, Community Theatre, Outdoor and Musical Events and that will focus on -relevant messages for youth.

Aftab said that it is worthwhile to mention here that our religion discusses adulthood through Quran and Sunnah to teach right practices. “We have consulted a large number of religious scholars from three sects in this regard who have further educated us on the religious aspect of these matters.

He added that Maulana Raghib Husain Naeemi, Head of Jamia Naeemiya while stressing the importance of right guidance for adolescents states “Lack of proper guidance can lead the children to choose wrong company and fall for bad habits”. Lamenting the fact that there is no serious effort to sensitize 100 million youth on these issues, Omer Aftab acknowledged that taking care of the emotional, psychological and health aspects of growing up children are easier said than done in Pakistan where despite media emancipation, the issue remains a taboo for wider section of society.

Highlighting the attitude of parents, Aftab held that there are parents who for various reasons, do not want to answer to questions relating to psychological and physiological issues and hence the project also targets the caretakers (parents and teachers) and motivate them to discuss these issues with their children/students without any inhibition so that the youth may not indulge in self-exploration of information out of their natural urge. “The emotional and physical changes taking place during adolescence” he added, ”play an important role in forming the personality traits of the youth as the remaining years of life merely become reflection of those traits.”