Lack of sanitary pads renders rural girls vulnerable during menstruation period

For many years many girls have been missing out of school during their menstrual days due to misinformation and lack of basic knowledge.

Lack of access to sanitary pads has also worsened the situation with these girls and adolescents opting to stay away from school to avert shame that comes with the same.

A visit to Kilelwet village in Barut Ward, Nakuru West Sub County.

Mineva Kwamboka, 13, is a junior secondary student at Soar Kenya Academy and she narrates that the high poverty levels in the village have rendered girls vulnerable.

According to Kwamboka, most parents weigh on buying sanitary pads for their children and meeting the basic needs among them food.

She adds that many would go for the later than the former making girls in the area become vulnerable and have to miss classes in their menstrual days.

It should be noted that a pack of sanitary pads now goes for Sh 45 and the harsh economic times makes it hard for parents to meet.

“The poor background is a big hindrance to girls. When parents cannot meet the expenses of buying pads, the girls have no option but to miss out school on some days during the menses” she says.

Shanice Quinter reads from the same script adding that girls from rural areas face a lot of challenges when it comes to their menstrual period.

She says lack of permanent jobs among many parents also impacts negatively on the girl child’s education when they have to miss out classes due to lack of support for sanitary pads.

Quinter’s appeal to the government to ensure that the sanitary pads are distributed free to all schools more so those in the rural set-up.

“The government should up and ensure that every girl in the country is able to access sanitary pads” she says.

President-elect Rotary Club of Nakuru Mr James Yegon during interview at Soar Kenya Academy. PHOTO/Pristone

Sentiments echoed by Mr.James Yegon who has been assisting girls in the area access sanitary pads through donations from well-wishers.

Yegon says the free donation of sanitary pads to the girls has also helped impact positively on their performance in education.

“The girls used to miss classes due to lack of sanitary pads. However, through donations we have been able to help them stay in school even during their menstruation days,” says Yegon.

The gap that has been there for long when it comes to sanitary pads access by girls is now being bridged by some well-wishers and organizations that are championing the rights of girl-child.

One such organization is HEART Africa that has been in various wards of Nakuru County to distribute free sanitary pads to school girls.

Sally Kamau from HEART Africa organization during interview on this year’s International Menstrual Hygiene Day marked at Soar Kenya Academy in Barut. PHOTO/Pristone.

Sally Kamau from HEART Africa reveals that under a program dubbed ‘Freedom for Girls Project’, they have been able to reach many girls in rural areas.

This, she adds, is the only way to end the stigma around menstruation issues among girls and society at large.

While noting the high prices of sanitary pads, Kamau says it is now a call to the government of the day to ensure subsidized prices or even pass a policy that will see school girls given free sanitary pads.

“Since inception of this program we have been able to reach a total of 313,489 girls while in Nakuru through partnership we have reached over 2,000 girls,” says Sally.


Charity groups call for concerted effort towards access to menstrual hygiene supplies

More effort should be put in place by the government through the Ministry of Education to ensure all school girls are supplied with sanitary pads to keep the girls in school during their menstrual period.

This even as statistics indicate that many girls miss school during their menstrual period due to lack of sanitary pads hence to avert shame and stigma they decide to stay at home for the three days hence missing a lot.

The negative impact on their education is also felt as they stay at home while their male counterparts continue with their studies.

Such gap has seen several lobby groups step in with sanitary pads donation to schools more so in rural areas.

A partnership between Geneva Lake West Rotary Club, Steve and Patricia Werner, Nakuru based Soar Kenya Academy and Hope Well as well Rotary Club of Nakuru has seen many girls stay in school even when in their menstrual period.

Speaking on Monday at Gogar Primary School in Rongai sub county of Nakuru County during a similar donation to more than 300 girls from area schools, James Yegon from Rotary Club of Nakuru commended the partners for the good gesture.

He said this will go a long way in addressing the challenges that girls at grassroot have been going through due to lack of sanitary pads.

“The harsh economic times have impacted negatively on the girls as the majority of parents cannot buy the pads leading to many of them missing out on school during the menstrual period. But with the partnership, we are now sure that the girls will get a full one year pack and go on with their studies to make a better generation in future” said Yegon.

Similar sentiments echoed by Sally Kamau from HEART Foundation- an organization that is spearheading a project dubbed Freedom for Girls’ meant to empower and ensure girls are safe in schools.

She said since the commencement of the Project, over 300,000 girls have been reached and empowered fully.

Ms Sally called on society to end stigma and shame around the menstrual period but rather join in ensuring a better society where girls are empowered.

“We have been doing this as HEART Foundation to ensure our girls are in schools. As a society we need to come together and end the stigma and shame towards our girls especially when they are in their menstrual period” she said.

She also called on the government to also step in and ensure sanitary pads are supplied in schools.

The project is being implemented in various counties in the country among them Nakuru and Baringo counties.

Teachers and pupils whose schools have benefited have lauded the charity groups for their good gesture towards empowering girl child.

error: Content is protected !!