81% of people in the world want to write a book. 81% of 10 year olds want to be fat. 81% was my score in English in my KCPE. 81% of girls, both young and older, in many Kenyan areas are still not able to afford sanitary pads at all.
42% of women that are online use Pinterest. 42% of kids have been bullied while online. If the shilling weakened against the dollar by 42% our President would declare a state of emergency and immediately call for stakeholders to meet and resolve the disaster as soon as possible. 42% of Kenyan girls have no access to sanitary towels on a regular.
What would you do with 3.5 million Kenya shillings? Go to Dubai for a trip of a lifetime? Buy that plot or car you have been dreaming of all your life? Have back to back sauna and spa sessions till you attain that peaches-and-cream skin the ladies in adverts flaunt? Would you use it to finally get HELB and CBR off your back once and for all and pay your campus loan? Would it be enough just for the dowry plus that grand entrance you and your buddies have been discussing at your future in-laws’ home? 3.5 million is quite the jackpot, isn’t it? Well, adolescent Kenyan girls lose an average of 3.5 million learning days per month as a result of menstruation.
I make these comparative statistics because I feel like we do not quite understand the great extent to which lack of sanitary towels impact on girls’ lives and their education. Imagine how better a place our country would be if this situation was tackled with the level of seriousness that is applied to economic troubles that hit our country. We would be able to keep in school that one girl out of ten, that misses school because of her menses and eventually drops out because of menstruation-related issues. Because she just could not keep up.
See, when a young woman gets her first period most probably anywhere between 10 to 16 years of age, she is supposed to feel proud, not timid. Safe, not scared of being a woman. She is supposed to be comfortable, not confined. But how does she get to do this if for starters she has no pads to keep her dry and ensure that the flow does not leak to her clothes? How is she supposed to experience the pride of womanhood if she has been made to believe that menstruation is unclean, and in some communities considered a curse? How is a young school girl supposed to get to class and focus, or even write an exam during her periods without the fear that she will emit a foul odour and be the laughing stock of her class?
The problems that young girls face is the reason why we’ll all kudos for the Always keep a girl in school campaign. The campaign aims to ensure that young girls without access to sanitary pads get support and confidence so that periods are not a negative part of their daily lives. You can change the world by being the change that you so desire to see. Let us keep all our school girls empowered and believing that they can achieve all of their biggest dreams if they set their minds to. Transform a girl’s life, one inspiring deed at a time. Check the #AlwaysStandUpKE campaign on twitter.