The year is 2017.
Girls are still missing school because they are on their period and can’t afford to buy pads.
Yes. They are missing school not because they are sick. No. They are going through a normal thing in a woman’s life. But they can’t go to school. In 2017. Let that sink in.
Can you imagine not going to school at least 3 days every month? Now imagine a girl who has school fees problems. And a day or two in the year when she is unwell. Remove school holidays. And weekends. When is this girl actually in school? When is she supposed to catch up with classwork and assignments? And she is examined on the same level as her peers who have gone to school all year! Honestly. We should be doing better.
Think back to when you were a teenager. When puberty kicked in and you were wondering what exactly your body was trying to do. Come to think of it puberty is pretty scary. Hair in weird places, all of a sudden you have boobs. And before you can even breath, here is a period complete with cramps! And to top it all off your moods are all over the place. I honestly don’t know how we managed. Self esteem issues are so major at that age. And how can it not be? Your body is going through so many changes and your emotions are experiencing extreme highs and lows. And peer pressure is now here (to stay). Now imagine a girl whose self-esteem has already taken a hit because of normal teenage issues – and now she is missing school and performing poorly to boot. That’s a lot to deal with. As if you are not already feeling bad about yourself here are poor grades to make you feel even worse!
This period should be characterized by a lot of reassurance from people around you. To remind you that what you are going through is normal. To show you how to use a pad. To give you pain killers to deal with the cramps. To remind you that you are beautiful even when your face breaks out. And to make you confident and proud of the woman you are becoming. And that is what this post is about. I am calling on you who reads this blog – despite my erratic writing behavior 😊 (I promise to be better in 2018) I want you this December to go into CarreFour, Naivas or any mini-market and buy Always pads. For every packet you buy P&G will match you and set aside one packet which they will give to girls in need.
This project is called Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS) and was launched in 2006 by Procter and Gamble (P&G) in primary schools across the country in partnership with the Ministry of Education program. To date, the program has seen over 100,000 school girls provided with over 8 million free Always sanitary pads, underwear, puberty education and mentorship over a period of ten years. As a result, the program has helped vulnerable girls stay in schools across Kenya.
I have been part of this project for two years now. Last year I and a few friends went to a primary school in Mukuru where P&G taught the kids how to use pads, cleanliness among other things and then donated sanitary pads to the girls. So this Christmas season as you do your January shopping – because you will be broke then 🙂 – buy a few packets of pads and P&G will ensure we keep a girl in school. Do a small act of kindness. Once you do, take a photo of the pads and share it with the hashtag #Always4thegirl to encourage more people to participate.
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.