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Sanitary Pad Distribution at Mukuru

Loading pads into the matatu

Often working at an NGO means a lot of office work- whether it be grant writing, drafting annual reports, setting up meetings or answering emails. For every project that you have operating in the field, there is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that must be done in order for those programs to be successful. Because of this it is sometimes easy to forget why you are doing this work in the first place. Since being at ZanaA I am occasionally faced with this dilemma, but days like yesterday are a quick fix for my restless self.

On Thursday I joined all of the field officers for a sanitary pad distribution at Mukuru kwa Njenga- a primary school just outside of the city. Time spent with the field officers during the trip combined with the reactions of the girls receiving the pads was enough to remind me that work in the office is actually causing tangible benefits and reinforce just how vital sanitary pad distribution in Kenya really is.

We headed to Mukuru Thursday morning in two separate groups, some of us went ahead to the school while the rest went to pick up the sanitary pads. I was in the latter of these two groups, which headed to Heart- an organization that manufactures Touch© pads in Kenya. Together with field officers Jaquie, Jessica, Shem and Kajani, we gathered 240 packages of pads (each packet contains 12 pads) and crammed them in the matatu. Needless to say the rest of the ride to the school was quite tight.. Despite the cramped car ride it was a trip well worth a bit of discomfort. For me working with the ZanaA field officers is always a treat. These are men and women passionate about their work with youth in Nairobi, and extremely sensitive to the obstacles facing young girls. Though they deal with such serious subjects in their daily activities with young people, they work in such a light hearted manner that makes everyone feel safe and comfortable- and always makes me grateful to have them as coworkers.

Upon arriving at the school, after a long and bumpy journey, we unloaded our cargo and set up inside the school to pass out pads to the girls at Mukuru. “Excited” does not even begin to describe the students’ reaction to our visit. Grace, one of ZanaA’s senior field officers who often leads distributions and has already worked with this group, introduced our team. The girls, recognizing Grace, responded with smiles and were so appreciative of the touch pads we brought. This became especially apparent as they quickly rushed in big groups to stand in line for the sanitary pads and panties- it was quite a hectic experience. Especially when girls’ returned requesting to exchange their panties for a different color.

However despite the chaos, it was really special seeing what a difference this work makes to young girls. Getting these sanitary pads is not just a matter of convenience or these girls, it is a product that can literally change the trajectory of their lives. The pads ZanaA brought to the school will keep these girls from missing learning days for the next term, increasing their chances of graduating, which has the ability to improve their future by leaps and bounds.

Days like the one I had in Mukuru- working with people I love to achieve something meaningful and so important- remind me of the reasons I came to work with ZanaA in the first place. These are qualities I hope to maintain in my professional life for years to come.

Is your daily work a source of inspiration in your life?

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