How HEART Africa has continued to impact on girl-child’s education through ‘Freedom For Girls’ Project

Menstruation has continued to hinder education for girl child especially in rural areas.

The vulnerable girls from humble backgrounds in these areas continue to suffer due to the fact that they cannot access sanitary pads.

The poverty levels also a factor that makes the girls more vulnerable as they cannot afford the sanitary commodities.

Thus they opt to stay home for the three or more days during menstruation, missing out on education.

The gap has seen Health Education Africa Resource Team-HEART Africa Organization step in to help address the same and ensure girls remain in school even during menstruation.

The 2000- founded Organization by Vicky Winkler with Christian background has continued to visit numerous schools in various counties giving hope to girls and ensuring that menstruation does need deny them the chance to realize their dreams.

Under the program dubbed ‘Freedom For Girls’ – one of the numerous projects that the organization is implementing, the girls receive training on menstrual hygiene management.

They are also given free sanitary packs that can see them for one year.

Sally Kamau who is the Co-ordinator ‘Freedom For Girls’ Project at HEART Africa says, the project is key in ensuring girls remain in school even during menstruation period.

Sally Kamau with girls in Kiptangwanyi.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

She was speaking in Nakuru on March 13, 2024 during a visit to several schools in Naishi-Njoro, Barut-Nakuru West and Kiptangwanyi in Gilgil where HEART Africa in partnership with other organizations among them Rotary Club of Nakuru.

Sally lauded the strides the project has made so far in empowering the vulnerable girls at grassroot level.

“We want to enable our girls to attend all school days. We want them to be empowered so that they can know their rights,” she stated.

While noting that period stigma is still a challenge at grassroot, Sally called for more partnership in addressing the same.

She called on government and other organizations to step forward towards the same.

Sentiments echoed by James Yegon who is the current President Rotary Club of Nakuru and also the Director SOAR Kenya Academy.

He adds that the distribution of sanitary packs has made several strides in keeping girls in schools since 2011.

Yegon adds that every year, through distribution centres, over 2000 girls have benefited.

This, he says has gone a long way in improving the academic performance of the girls.

“We thank our partners and we call upon other well wishers to come and work with us towards this noble task. We need to reach more girls,” he stated.

Teachers too have lauded the project terming it key to girl child education.

Josephat Mbui is a teacher in Lare-Njoro, and he says life for girl child in rural areas remains a challenge.

He noted that with high levels of poverty, many girls are rendered vulnerable especially adolescent school going girls.

With poverty and food insecurity, most parents prefer buying food rather than buying sanitary pads for the girls.

“When poverty levels are high then the girl child is affected in various households. But this partnership with HEART Africa and SOAR Kenya will greatly help,” he said.

Petronillah Amase is the current Deputy Headteacher Kenyatta Day Mixed Secondary School in Njoro.

She describes the project as a saviour for the girl child.

Having interacted with several girls in the area, she points out that it will go a long way in ensuring girls go on with their studies and achieve their dreams.

“This project is timely and will help empower our girls to realize their dreams. I call on HEART Africa to ensure the project reaches more girls,” she said.

The joyful beneficiaries of the project have also commended HEART Africa, Rotary Club of Nakuru and other partners for the support.

Led by Serah Wambui and Christine Njeri, they noted that with the issue of access to sanitary pads sorted, then they are able to concentrate on their studies.

 

 

 

 

 

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