In Kenya, Young Girls Are Dropping Out Of School Because They Don’t Have The Funds To Buy Sanitary Pads. This Is Just Sad.

kenya-period girls

Women in most countries around the world have their own problems with menstruation. Women in India are shunned while they are on their period, asked to sit in one corner and of course in rural areas, access to health centres and hygiene products is severely limited. These are all the problems we need to rectify but that is going to take a long time since they all require a change in mindset, and we all know how much Indians love to hold on to their ‘traditions’. However, like I said, we aren’t the only country that is infested with problems that are caused by periods.

One of the issues I have come across recently is period-poverty. Period-poverty is basically being unable to work or attend school since there are no funds to buy sanitary products like pads and this obviously, makes the life of women even harder. Of course, we do face this in the several areas of our country but it’s nothing compared to what the young girls and women of Nairobi, Kenya go through every month.

Most people in Kenya do not receive a proper education as it is because they lack the resources to fund it. A report suggests that the girls who are in primary school are in their late teens since they have to keep dropping out intermittently because their families can’t afford to send them to school. In fact, according to UNICEF, more than 1.2 million primary school-age children in Kenya do not attend school at all.

Also Read: A 14-Year-Old Kenyan Girl Committed Suicide After Being ‘Period Shamed’. Why Is This Even A Thing?

Those numbers are truly horrible. But the worst part is that when female students do attend school, they are forced to skip a few days every month when they are menstruating since they have no money to buy sanitary products. It has led to an estimated one million girls who miss school every month due to their periods.

A report says that 15-year-old girls would share used pads for the longest time before they were told by their teachers how dangerous and unhygienic it was. It seems like, they don’t have much of a choice and it is also possibly the reason 12% of the people living on the outskirts of Nairobi are HIV positive. Hence, these young girls face grave consequences of either risking their health or risking their health.

Also Read: This NGO Smashed The Stigma Around Periods By Organising A Feast Cooked By Women Who Were Menstruating. We Love This So Much

A research done by Kenya’s Ministry of Education, on an average, says girls lose four days a month of school. Which loosely translates into two weeks lost each term. Over a period of 4 years, these girls lose 165 days of their education. That’s obviously a huge setback to their education.

Over the years, the Kenyan government has taken multiple steps to curb this problem. But none of their actions have managed to create any progress on this front. I really hope something changes soon because it’s not fair that these young girls have to give up on their education for a bodily function they have no way out of.

Mitali Shah

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