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.
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 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.