Supporting girls in Kenya

23 June 2015

"In every girl there is a woman and in every woman there is a lady" 

Working with girls and young women to provide educational and economic opportunities is a priority for us. Throughout the month of May we ran a special programme here in Kenya to highlight an international campaign about menstrual health.

We spent time in ten schools across Londiani and Kipkelion districts, talking to girls about menstruation, the impact it has on their lives and what we can all do to make life better. Many of them are forced to miss school every month, for simple reasons such as lack of access to hygienic products that would allow them to attend school.

During our special awareness days, we sang songs, talked about the challenges girls face and shared our feelings through posters, poems and drama. Our aim was to help break the taboos surrounding menstrual health through creating awareness of why menstruation matters. But also to break the silence and encourage girls to understand that menstruation is something we can talk about and not be ashamed of.

We also shared photographs and stories across social media, to raise awareness of the challenges girls face in this region. Something many of us in Ireland, the UK or US for example, don’t understand because menstruation isn’t a barrier to education, work or even sport in this modern world.
Many things came out of the month, but we were particularly struck by this poem put together by girls from Chepeson Girls Secondary School:

Periods of shame - A poem

Our girls are suffering from different parts of Kenya because of ‘’Periods of shame’’, 
This is mainly because they cannot afford pads and even lack of education,
Apparently many teams have come out to educate girls on menstruation cycle but it has only helped this girls from urbanized towns such as Nairobi, Nakuru,
Many schools from rural areas girls are often absent in schools because they fear shame,
This is brought by lack of sanitary towels that our girls use mattresses and other materials during their menstruation cycle; others are not comfortable in being girls and appreciate themselves for this all shame,
I am glad that this theme has been approved to solve our problems this girlhood project,
to teach girls on how to be confident with ourselves because....
In every girl there is a woman and in every women there is a lady