Nicola Blenman and the Happy Flow Foundation

She completed her secondary education and eventually gained full sponsorship to study at the Barbados Community College. There, she completed an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts, majoring in Law and Sociology. She is currently a student at the University of Guyana, where is reading for a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. She found that Law teaches a person to be an all-rounder in life, it puts you in every category or profession that there is, so she just could not miss out on that experience. It also puts her in a position to combat injustice. Nicola described herself as being a humble and content person; she wants only the basics that life has to offer. This came as a result of the struggles she faced over the last few years of her life. She knows what it is to not have and she knows what it is to wish to have; she knows what it feels like to struggle and she knows what it feels like to have accomplished.

OUT of three siblings, growing up, Nicola Blenman described herself as being the most mischievous. She was not a well-privileged girl growing up; they did not have all the finer things in life, but they had each other and her parents made sure they all understood the importance of family while providing the necessities for their daily existence. Journeying through later stages of her childhood, struggles arose — mentally, physically and financially. Her family was divided because of reasons beyond her comprehension and her father was away for quite some time. She attended Agricola Primary school in the nearby village then J.E. Burnham Primary, William Street, Kitty. Nicola was a bookworm, always reading and writing. She was also quite genuine; always willing to share her lunch with somebody, always buying something for someone. Being an adolescent also had its challenges, as she fought with so many personal issues. She eventually became a ‘rebellious’ teen and went against every good thing that she was thought. Fortunately, she grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and it helped to reaffirm her beliefs in God, faith and herself.

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As it relates to humanitarian work, Nicola wished there were more support groups and programmes available to help her when she was growing up, as there is now. She wishes to see no young woman or girl go through those struggles she went through; to be seen or heard in society because the scars they left, took more than makeup and a scarf to cover. She believes everybody deserves a place in society, not just as a statistic, but as a person. Suicide occurs most times because persons feel they have no sense of belonging, and she wants to help change that. She is the founder of the El Dorado Read Foundation, Founder of Happy Flow foundation and also manages a family business in Barbados. When she studied sociology, Nicola developed a passion for Caribbean Literature and after coming into contact with writers like Walter Rodney and CLR James, she told herself that these works need to be at every child’s disposal. She aims to focus on Caribbean literature and to work and reintegrate books into the lives of our youths through, of course, the El Dorado Read Foundation.

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About the Happy Flow Foundation
As we speak, this future lawyer is on the verge of kick-starting an initiative which will benefit young girls and women by spreading awareness of an issue that has been taboo for decades. This initiative is The Happy Flow Foundation. This Foundation will be dedicated to helping underprivileged girls and women across Guyana with free monthly distribution of feminine products. Happy flow aims at promoting the menstrual movement and bringing awareness to proper menstrual hygiene and menstrual health, through education and women empowerment across Guyana. She believes that proper menstrual hygiene management and menstrual health play a vital role in the overall performance of a woman’s body. She also posits that it is the solution to some, if not all, menstrual health issues and the Happy Flow Foundation understands this significance. Their objectives seek to remedy issues arising from poor menstrual hygiene and lack of basic yet necessary knowledge needed in safeguarding and bringing awareness to menstrual health. They intend to create a safe and comfortable space, where women and girls can feel free to openly vent about menstruation and issues surrounding it without the taboo feeling and therefore accepting it for what it is, via workshops, seminars and community outreach programmes. They also intend to create an annual comprehensive educational programme which will seek to educate both privileged and underprivileged teenage girls across Guyana on proper menstrual Care.

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Her mother passed away in June 2018 from renal failure, an illness that she had endured for almost 10 years. The death of her mother showed her a different side of herself, that she did not even know existed. After her death, Nicola was devastated because she held her up to her very last breath and she passed away before her very eyes in her arms. It tore her apart; she was angry for months because she felt as if it was her fault by not being able to get the proper medical attention her mother needed. In reality, it wasn’t her fault because she did not have it, because they didn’t know where to turn in the very initial stages of her mother’s sickness. She eventually started to understand that everything happens for a reason. Some may understand and some will never understand, but in order for a change, things must happen, good or bad. With faith, in knowing she is at peace, Nicola now has the courage, to get up and face this, most importantly because she knows her mother is with God, to whom she prayed every day for strength to accept the things she cannot change—she overcame! The Happy Flow Foundation founder advises youth by saying: “My greatest inspiration came from seeing the kind and always giving… My mother taught me the meaning of ‘when you get, give and when you learn, teach.’ Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased; perseverance is Key and when we persevere with all our might, our rewards become great!”

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