It is no secret that many families in Kenya today live on less than a dollar a day. With so many expenses like food and school fees, a lot of these families are unable to afford sanitary pads for their daughters. The result of this is that a whooping 900,000 girls in Kenya miss school for up to 4 days a month during their menses.
This has a spiral effect in that these girls will almost always under perform in school and some of them will eventually drop out. Now, a girl who drops out of school is already at several disadvantages. For one, she may never earn as good a living as her peers. Second, this unfortunate girl may end up engaging in premature sexual activities and end up getting into early pregnancy. Third, being uneducated herself, she’s less likely to educate her child. At this point the cycle of poverty starts all over again.
What is the link between girls health and their education?
- Availability of sanitary pads to girls stems the problem of thousands of girls from poor families who miss classes and are forced to stay home during their periods.
- Puberty is a time when girls are discovering themselves and developing their self esteem in the process. Soiling their dresses during their periods is one of the worst thing that can happen to them and will certainly disrupt their train of thought in school.
- Hygiene is akin to health. Having proper sanitary pads will stop girls from using unorthodox and unhygienic methods during their periods. Some of these methods often lead to infections.
- Girls who accept menstruation as part of a woman’s life and not some taboo to be ashamed of are better placed to concentrate in their studies even during their periods.
Meet Pad Heaven, an initiative that aims to nip the unfortunate scenario of girls missing school in the bud. This they do through several initiatives the current one and one that is calling for your participation being #GiftAGirl.
The campaign will be using the Valentine period to cheer up the girls as well as educate them on menstruation and other changes in their bodies and why they are happening, address adolescent girl issues to make sure that the girls do not lose out on education, and above all, create awareness about the big and fairly ignored problem of girls missing school for lack of feminine products.
On 13th February 2014, the Pad Heaven Initiative in conjunction with Bloggers Association Of Kenya will give gift baskets to 300 girls at Shadrack Kimelel Primary School in Ngumo where BAKE already has a book project called ‘Adopt a library’. Each of Pad Heaven’s gift baskets will contain 1 year’s supply of sanitary pads, 3 pairs of undergarments, a booklet on Menstrual Health, a bar of chocolate, biscuits, a soft drink, a rose flower, and a customized card with a message to empower the girls.
The #GiftAGirl campaign will take place on social media and this time, men are particularly encouraged to take part in this campaign so they also can be involved in the conversation of Women’s Reproductive Health. This is one great way to get involved.
Pad Heaven cannot do it on their own and for this very noble course, they could use all the help they can get. You can help them realize their vision by donating what you can by Mpesa to Florence Kamaitha via Number: 0714-880917.
First published on http://bloggers.or.ke/