My students are so very overwhelmed by this dilemma with the girls and women of Kenya. They are hard working young people, and many of them have not been out of the state or out of the US, so it challenges their minds to think that students cannot attend school because they are women. It has struck a strong chord within them. I believe that they will now begin to think in ways that are more culturally attuned to the plight of others, especially those who have been marginalized because they are women and in poverty. After discussions on how we can be helpful, we have decided to continue to raise funds. I will mail a check to the US address in Virginia by the end of the term in May. Thank you for your work for those who have no voice and no power.
It just goes to show what a complicated world we live in. We have more than enough resources to meet all our Millennium Development Goals and yet somehow political and moral imperatives prevent that becoming a reality. Development projects are always a fine balance between the immediate alleviation of hardship vs the certainty of planned sustainability. And as you say – one has to start somewhere and sometimes good intentions do open up positive energy, bring people together and create long lasting success. I applaud and admire your initiative and commitment and wish you the best of luck with it. Many young girls lives – and therefore their families’ – will be irrevocably changed by it.
I have a reason to be passionate about this. I am the first born SON in my family, when my mother passed away my young sister had to ask for money for buying sanitary pads. When they called me and said anything thing related to that I would sent the money immediately. I think they realized when you ask money for sanitary pads money came very fast from my pocket even if i do not have it. So I imagine those girls who do not have their mothers and have no one to go.
I'm an old lady now and have been out of the panties and STs world for a long time - thank goodness! But I can still remember the misery and difficulties (especially as I went to boarding school and to say the arrangements there in the 1940s were disgraceful/disgusting is an understatement!!)
The reason I am so passionate about this amazing cause is b/c this very particular issue is something that we, women deal with. I can't imagine what these young girls go through each month when they are menstruating. This is something that we, in North America take for granted. We have all the bells and whistles: liner, tampon ( for light, med, heavy and super heavy flow) pad (with or without wing and long or extra long).....really the sky is the limit for the very privileged. So I thought that it would be nice if I could reach out to my friends and ask them to help me out in your amazing cause.
When a girl has access to basic hygiene products the following happen:
-her health improves as her chances of contracting infections is reduced
-her self-esteem, confidence and dignity increases
- her attendance at school improves
-her chances of success are enhanced
-her self-respect, the importance of self- preservation with regard to health is increased as is her bodily awareness
iii. School Reports/feedback:
The following is an example of a report that is received each time a donation is made.
June 2012: ‘PANTIES WITH PURPOSE’ REPORT
The Kibera Girls Centre is a Kenya Girl Guides Association (KGGA) project that seeks to empower less privileged girls from Kibera community. Here the girls are empowered with vocational skills training among them; Dressmaking, Catering, Computer literacy, Crafts, Environmental studies, Entrepreneurship, Life skills and Guiding which is the backbone of the association. This one year training is offered free and the girls are provided with meals as well.
In a bid to empower these girls further, KGGA started the ‘learn and earn’ initiative to enable the girls earn some income as they learn so that they uplift their standards of living. One area of emphasis for the girls is Life skills training which comprise of reproductive health and personal hygiene. This is made possible through partnerships with initiatives such as ‘Panties with Purpose’ that enable less privileged girls to access feminine products such as sanitary towels and panties.
Maridadi donated 150 pieces of panties to Kibera Girls through their ‘Panties with Purpose’ initiative, these were distributed to 50 girls at the Kibera Girls Centre on 8th of June 2012. Together with this were 20 packets of pads each containing 12 packs of 8 pads each, courtesy of an initiative called ‘freedom for girls’ by Procter and Gamble, Health Education Africa Resource team, Lions/Rotary International and Prime Bank of Kenya.
Each girl went home smiling with three panties and four packets of pads. Below are some photos of the event.