Days for Girls and Farmers Helping Farmers, Kenya
a perspective by Maxine Delaney
The girls' faces expressed various emotions as they sat expectantly facing us, Mzungu who were strangers to them and women teachers from all the levels of their school. Suitcases were wheeled to the front of the classroom holding brightly patterned cotton drawstring bags. The girls waited while we organized and passed them out, judging visually which of the three sizes might work best for each. Small, medium, large, in a less than perfect world.
Smiles were shared and sidelong glances took in the variety of colours and patterns. With encouragement the bags were opened, explored, their contents explained. Ten year olds listened perplexed to hear about menstrual freedom having not yet experienced the challenge. Thirteen year olds listened relieved at this new found option. Days for Girls kits are pretty bags containing panties, liners and washable pads, cleverly designed to disguise their purpose as they hang in the sun to dry.
Translation to Kimeru helped relieve the questioning faces as did engaged teachers joining in the demonstration.
Pad in liner. Liner in panty. Panty on. Jump, run, play. Smiling, laughing faces. Freedom.
Days For Girls help meet basic human requirements. Solutions often seem simple but reality is much more complex, with social stigmas to overcome and the challenge to include each young new girl as she ages toward maturity.
In June, 2017 Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, implemented an amendment to The Basic Education Act which compels the government to provide free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to all schoolgirls reaching puberty in order to reduce the number of school day’s missed during their menstrual cycles. We must think beyond today and be conscious of tomorrow’s follow up. Days for Girls in conjunction with Kenya’s recent education amendment could speed the trickle effect of the real implementation of reliable distribution of sanitary towels for the benefit of the young women of Kenya’s tomorrow. An encouraging prospect.
Read about the incredible team of volunteers who make these kits possible: