Period poverty has always been an obstacle for so many young girls. They go to very extreme ends just to be able to afford sanitary towels or tampons. During my weekly sessions, I noticed that the number of girls attending had increased significantly. I was glad since this meant the sessions were being beneficial and demand for correct and factual SRHR information was being surfaced.
In one of the sessions, as I was passing the question box around I realized most of these girls had the same problem judging from the similarity of questions they placed in there, which was access to sanitary towels. However, one particular case caught my attention as a group of five high school-going girls remained behind after the session and explained to me what exactly they had to do to get sanitary towels and that among the reasons they attended the sessions was the provision of sanitary towels.
From further inquiries, I learned that a beneficiary had informed them of the free sanitary towels that are given at the end of every session, and what exactly they had to do to acquire sanitary towels on their own.
One of them, Mary, not her real name, mentioned she had to secure laundry jobs from her classmates just to be able to afford sanitary towels which meant that she could skip school so as to have as many jobs as she could to sustain herself throughout her menses. Jane, also not her real name, said she would ask her female friends to at least help her with a few pieces just before the due date and would do this throughout her menses.
The involvement of young people in the implementation of the SAFIRE project has helped reach a demographic that was hard to get to before and the distribution of sanitary towels has been among the strategies that have helped reach a good number of girls.
A large demographic number of young girls in Mwiki, don’t have the purchasing power to sustain themselves and have to resort to unconventional means to get sanitary towels. The five girls can now be in school without worrying much about what will happen when their periods come, and this applies to other young girls who have been beneficiaries too. Being able to reach such young girls and make their lives a little easier is such a joy and I am very happy to be part of a group that is making a difference.