The story was featured in local news yet again but this time it awoke something in me. Kenyan girls from poor families and marginalised communities were missing school because they lacked sanitary pads during their menstrual cycle. Same story, different location, same country.
It kept playing in my mind this time round, which made me realise that I needed to stand up for all the young girls who had no idea where to speak up to, I was tired of sitting back and blaming the government. As I did my research I realised its an issue being experienced in many developing nations.
To these girls, it is the most unbareable time of each month and they would rather not go to school. When their menstrual cycles arrive, the stress becomes what to use in place of sanitary pads. Most use rags, sponges or reuse pads. These unhygienic and dirty options mean all manner of infections could happen. To me it brought sadness to my heart. How much is a sanitary pad, surely? A packet in Kenya costs anywhere from less then a $1 to much more depending on where you buy it from.
Using rags or sponges during their period is what they know best, whether or not it will infect them, it doesn’t really matter so long as they can get through the menstrual period counting down the days with dread and anger. I stood up with an initiative called Path to Woomanhood 254, I started it simply as a facebook group, where I could share with friends the numerous articles and news features that I found online. I then decided well, I can do something about it so I planned for an outreach to Kibera. Right here on Wolrd Pulse I met Jane Anyango and told her I wanted to pay her project a visit in Kibera, one of the biggest slums in Africa. Together with friends we were able to get 354 packets of sanitary pads to 166 girls. Druing the outreach we gave a demonstration on using and disposing sanitary pads. We also had a forum to discuss hygiene during the monthly period amidst giggles.
My intention was to make a difference for at least one girl for one month, because I knew I could, but now I know I can do much more and thats exactly what I plan to do. This is MyStoryStandingUp