“For Women, from women, with love”
MilesAlongTheSea: proud supporters of AFRIpads.
Menstruation is one of the most common and uniquely female experiences. Unfortunately, the reality is that around the world millions of girls and women struggle to manage their monthly periods.
Unable to afford or access proper menstrual products, many girls and women rely on crude, improvised materials like scraps of old clothing, pieces of foam mattress, toilet paper, leaves, and banana fibers to manage their menstruation – all of which are unhygienic, ineffective, and uncomfortable.
Faced with frequent, embarrassing leaks and a susceptibility to recurrent infections, the impact is that many girls and women experience their monthly period as something that prevents them from engaging in daily life – whether this is going to school or work, or carrying out their normal domestic responsibilities.
1 Out of 10 African schoolgirls skip school or drop out of school entirely due to a lack of menstrual products and poor access to proper sanitation, according to UNICEF. This critical unavailability of sanitary products in developing countries is a major barrier to education for girls of school-going age. The inability to effectively manage menstruation contributes to absences of up to 4-5 school days each month, equating to as much as 20% of the academic year intentionally skipped, simply due to menstruation. Eventually many of these girls drop out of school entirely, increasing their likelihood of teen pregnancy health complications and early marriage, and further limiting their future career and economic opportunities.
MilesAlongTheSea: During our travel through the more remote parts of Africa we came across a lot of, in our eyes, “small solvable problems, but unsolved” that would make a huge difference in daily lives. In Northern Namibia, Koakaland we got to meet and worked with over a 100 young school-going girls. Although the topic might be a little taboo to talk about, the problems are real. When we were in Uganda we visited AFRIpads; a social business that locally manufactures and globally supplies cost-effective, reusable menstrual pads. When we got the opportunity from AFRIpads to work together and change some lives we took it with both hands. Coming from Uganda, crossing Kenya in Ethiopia the first real opportunity came up: Tim & Kim Village in Gorgora, Ethiopia.
Tim & Kim Village is a social enterprise with the aim to help the local population in and around Gorgora. The village of Gorgora is a little off the beaten track and facing many challenges. Clean drinking water is hardly available, just like school materials, medical supplies and education could be improved.
MilesAlongTheSea, AFRIpads and Kim&Tim Village combined powers en set up a get together, which in Ethiopia goes hand in hand with a coffee ceremony: 3 strong well prepared espressos, made above a coal fire and sipped from a small cup, where we invited all the young local ladies to participate.
With the help of Mebratu, a local, translator and active advocate for raising awareness for STD’s, HIV and the use of condoms, we started the demonstration. Helga explained how to use the AFRIpads with the help of the hand outs and booklets that AFRIpads provided. After the demonstration, the girls got the chance to feel the pads and ask questions if they wanted to.
We hope this small support will help the women and girls break the barriers that menstruation creates in their lives and to helping them rise to their full potential.