African girls miss school every month – just because they’re girls! Incredible. Even more incredible is how simply this huge problem can be solved, and how easy it is for you to help.
No one talks about it. No one deals with it. We must, and with your help we absolutely can. The problem is… a lack of affordable sanitary towels.
First periods are a very stressful time in any girl’s life, but add to this acute poverty and you have a seriously miserable situation. Many young girls are not provided with sanitary towels at home because their families cannot afford them and food takes priority. They may not even have underwear. Schools are often over-crowded with many children in very close proximity to one another, and in her culture this can make the situation of a young girl having her period - with no sanitary towel or even underwear - impossible.
Girls therefore frequently stop attending school while menstruating. Missing a week’s school each month has a massive impact on a child’s progress, especially in Africa, and girls fall so far behind their peers that they frequently drop out of school completely.
The result: loss of education, hope and future.
This short film - "Period of Shame" from Kenya's CitizenTV highlights some of the difficulties girls face each month when their families can't afford to buy sanitary towels. If you can spare a few minutes, please take a look at some of the "solutions" girls have found and why schemes such as Education All Month, Every Month are crucial.
Making a difference
After supplying sanitary towels and underwear for twelve months, the results are amazing!
Our Education All Month, Every Month scheme now encompasses five schools and 300 girls in the Thika region of Kenya.
In addition to the physical distribution of goods to the girls, Rita and Theresiah from Watoto Kwanza - our Kenyan NGO partner - run a monthly health and social education programme, facilitating group discussions around girls' issues.
Each school is monitoring attendance among the beneficiary group absenteeism has reduced by an average of 73%. A remarkable achievement! As well as these advantages, girls and their teachers were particularly complimentary of the sessions run by Rita and Theresiah and teachers have noticed the confidence and maturity of the girls improving noticeably since the project began.
Lydia Irungu, the Headteacher of Ng'ate Primary School, writes: "The great success of the provision of sanitary towels is evident from the marked increase in regular attendance of girls. Both the feeding and sanitary towel programmes have directly influenced our school positively in all areas as evidence by the steady improvement of both attendance and Standard 8 test results. on behalf of the entire Ng'ate community we are so grateful for your continuous support and hope the same will continue. This will go a long way in influencing the boys and girls positively towards education - thank you and God bless you."
Further feedback came in letter form from some of the girls who benefit from the scheme at Ng'ate Primary School. 13-year-old Grace Njoki tells us: "Thanks for your support with the sanitary towels. The previous years we were losing at school but now we are coming to school every day, our performance has improved. In the past, we were using pieces of cloth or sometimes handkerchiefs. Thank you for choosing our school. The girls who come to visit us give us some advice. [Without their advice] we would be pregnant most of us, but now we are not."
How can you help?
Donating just £5 a month will keep a girl in school.
This will enable us to provide sanitary towels, underwear, private toilets and hand-washing facilities.
Did you know… ?
- An educated girl is less likely to marry & have children while she herself is still a child
- An educated girl is more likely to be literate, healthy & survive into adulthood… as are her children.
- An educated girl is less likely to be vulnerable to abuse, exploitation & disease.
Just £5 a month will improve the opportunities of current & future generations.
Girls must never be excluded from a single day's education, just because they are girls - and with your help they won't be.