Lack of sanitary products for Kenyan girls on their menstrual cycles is a major problem. Only 1 out of 10 girls in Kenya have access to sanitary products.
The result is a domino-effect of hardship for Kenyan girls.
Joy Mueller with Kenya Hope says, “Some will resort to prostitution so they have some money to purchase them. Others will go through the garbage to try and find used ones, and of course, that means there’s infection and all sorts of sanitary issues with that. Others just plain drop out of school because they don’t have these products to keep them in school, which of course leads to a lot of teen pregnancies and early marriages.”
Even if some girls don’t drop out of school altogether, they still face challenges when they are absent from school while on their period.
The average Kenyan schoolgirl misses 4 out of 28 days per month – around two weeks every term – because they don’t have sanitary products. This impacts their ability to test well and go on for higher education.
Shame further pervades the topic of menstruation for these girls because they aren’t always properly educated on these bodily changes. Sometimes a girl doesn’t even know what is happening when she starts her period. It can be very frightening and embarrassing.
Recently, a teenage schoolgirl in Kenya was publicly shamed by a teacher for getting her first period in class. She didn’t know what was happening and didn’t have any sanitary products.
“It was such a severe shaming that when she went to her home, she ended up committing suicide and this made headlines in Kenya,” Mueller says. “There is a real stigma and shaming of girls over their menstrual cycles.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh