A Garissa community-based organization, Girl-Kind has started an ambitious programme to distribute sanitary pads to school-going girls from poor family background across the county.
This is after it emerged that during their menses the affected girls remain at home and thus miss classes for the period, about a week, every month.
Speaking after donating pads to girls of Jarirot primary school, the founder of the organization, Fatuma Ibrahim said her objective was to ensure that the education of girls especially those in the rural areas are not disrupted because of the monthly period.
Fatuma said that it is obvious that learners who miss classes for long for whatever reasons, perform poorly in the national exams.
“Girls who miss classes for up to one week because of the periods find it hard to catch up and end up performing poorly in their exams,” Fatuma said.
“This scenario is even made worse when the girls’ classmates are aware of why she missed schools. The girls get traumatized and even opt to drop out of school,” he added.
She said that the organization has distributed sanitary pads to 11 schools in six sub counties in Garissa since schools re-opened in January.
“We have received requests from more schools since we started. We are also urging other players to join us in this venture to ensure that we retain girls in schools,” she said.
“The overall objective is to ensure that we not only retain girls in school but ensure that they complete their education,” Fatuma noted.
Fatuma said they are also involved in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the area.
“Apparently we are facing a lot of resistance from those involved in the vice because it has become a source of livelihood for them,” Fatuma said.
However, her organization has established alternative sources of living for the circumcisers, to keep them away from the vice, including providing sewing machines for those who can do dressmaking and those willing to learn.
by Jacob Songok