AfriReuse Pads are passionate about supporting girls to have the same opportunities as boys. A monthly period should not be a barrier for a girl’s education. It should not cause embarrassment or shame. It should not stop girls from attending school.
AfriReuse Pads is an innovative solution, providing sustainable menstrual health she can count on. With it she can avoid infection, shame, exploitation and early marriage.
Girls with access to AfriReuse Pads are now able to complete their education and have real choices about their futures. The high quality of the pads is reflected in the life span of up to four years. The social pressures of child marriage and FGM are drastically reduced. These girls do not have to miss out on their education due to their period, and can go on to receive a full education and help to break the poverty cycle.
“No country can ever flourish if it stifles the potential of it women and deprives itself the contributions of half its citizens.”
Michelle Obama, Speaking at he Summit of the Mandela Washington fellowship for young African leaders.
In November 2019 I visited some of the remote villages in the Rift Valley of West Pokot, Kenya.
I worked with local health workers to encourage positive changes in the harmful cultural practice of FGM and child marriage.
I was in such a fortunate position that I was able to spend time with girls, listening to specific challenges in their lives. They described to me how, when they started menstruating their lives changed.
Due to poverty they were not able to buy their own pads. This meant that they were confined to their homes. They were not able to go to school or church, tend to their animals or fetch water. Basically for 1 week every month their lives were on hold.
This impacted greatly on their education, as most girls fell behind in their schooling and eventually left altogether when they started menstruating. The social stigma was great. Their health was also at risk, as they improvised with methods of coping with their bleeding.
Every girl said that if they had access to pads, the biggest impact to their lives would be that they could stay on in school.
Inspiration for AfriReuse Pads was born.
I was raised in a community in West Pokot and through my background in nursing was able to see firsthand how women and girls here are affected by poverty.
I have seen girls have to stay at home, unable to play with their friends, because of the shame of their period.
Those who manage to pay the school fees have to miss classes every month because they do not have sanitary pads. Some find they have to drop out of school altogether and some find themselves in early pregnancies after men target them on their way to school with ‘gifts’ of sanitary products.
I believe girls and young women do not need to face this negativity, simply because of their periods. It fired a passion in me and I began researching the best way to provide reusable sanitary pads to girls from humble backgrounds in West Pokot.
In 2019, with Paula, we thought the most effective and sustainable way would be to set up a social enterprise. In 2020, AfriReuse Pads began to manufacture affordable and reusable sanitary towels.
I am optimistic our vision will continue to help young women gain skills and economic empowerment. By providing sanitary pads, we can break the cycle of poverty in my home, West Pokot.
Your support of AfriReuse Pads provides girls with quality reusable sanitary pads, important reproductive hygiene education, sewing training and employment.
A donation of £10 can provide one girl with a dignified, practical solution to her menstrual health.
It pays for: