Giving Tuesday | Menstrual Health and Girls' Education
For too many girls around the world, quality menstrual products are simply not an option.
In low-resource settings in particular, vulnerable girls can often find themselves unable to afford or access modern products, leaving many to resort to using makeshift materials like cloths, rags, or other alternatives. These “solutions” are not only physically uncomfortable, causing rashes or burns, but they’re also unreliable. Girls can’t trust that they won’t leak through their school uniform, or that the cloths they have folded in their underwear won’t fall out of their skirts when they walk down the hall.
Because of this, girls will often decide to skip school altogether during their period to avoid the potential for any kind of embarrassment. And if they do decide to go to class, they struggle to concentrate because they’re uncomfortable and nervous. Girls are too afraid to stand up and answer questions in class. Afraid to walk to lunch. Afraid to play with their friend. When girls can’t trust their period products, they do anything they can to not stand up and move around, limiting their participation in the classroom, their learning opportunities, and their ability to enjoy themselves.
At Huru, we have a vision for a world where no girl is limited by her period. So, we make sure girls are equipped with the products they need to stay in school and participate confidently.
Huru Gives Pads to Girls
Huru International is a charitable organisation that was founded in 2008 by Lorna Macleod who was working with orphaned children in Nairobi. After buying copious packages of disposable pads for girls to take to school, she started Huru to bring high-quality reusable menstrual pads to girls in Africa to help keep girls in school. Because girls everywhere deserve access to reliable period products they can trust.
Huru employs local women and men to produce reusable menstrual pads – over 1.6 million to date – at its Nairobi-based headquarters. The pads are given to girls within menstrual kits that include everything they need to manage their period including underwear and soap among other items. To mitigate harmful myths and stigma around menstruation and to empower girls to make informed decisions, Huru’s menstrual kits are distributed in conjunction with sexual and reproductive health information.
Quality menstrual products are essential for girls to have equitable access to education, a critical factor in advancing gender equality within communities. And for over 90% of girls who’ve received Huru’s menstrual pads, their school attendance increased. This has been true for a young girl named Idah who, before meeting Huru, had never used or seen a menstrual pad in her life.
Huru is Helping Idah Stay in School
Idah is a 12-year-old girl living in Mukuru, one of Nairobi, Kenya’s largest informal settlements, with her parents and her 5 brothers. Her dad lost his job early in the pandemic and her mom sells potatoes along the roadside near their home. For Idah’s family, affording rent and food is already a struggle which means menstrual pads are a luxury they simply cannot afford.
In fact, Idah has never once used a pad. Her first period came this past July, and she had no idea what to expect. No one had ever told her about periods. Once she realized what was happening to her, she did what she had seen her mother previously do for her own period. She cut up pieces of old clothes, folded them, and put it in her underwear, leaving her unable to comfortably move or participate in school. Her solution is one that’s shared by millions of other girls who can’t afford menstrual pads… She started skipping school for the duration of her period every single month.
But then October came, and Idah met the team from Huru who gave her a brand-new menstrual kit…filled with reusable pads all for her. Idah also learned how to track her period, so she’ll never have to be surprised again. And she’ll certainly never have to miss school again.
Huru relies on the generosity of donors and supports to reach girls with menstrual product. To help girls like Idah, please consider donating to Huru here. From now until November 30, a group of donors is tripling donations made to Huru.
To learn more about Huru’s work, visit their website at www.huruinternational.org