Monthly Period Causes Girls to Drop out of School in Mathare

August 12, 2014

If you meet a young girl during class time and ask them why they are not in school, the reason they will give will differ. Some of the reasons people have cited to cause drop out from schools include high school fees, early/unwanted pregnancy, irresponsible parents and many more.

But during my field visit on a few schools, I came to realize that some biological changes in a girl’s body can cause them to drop out of schools.

girls following keenly during class session

girls following keenly during class session

One of the reasons that is not commonly mentioned is the monthly period, some refer to it as periods or MP. How to maintain hygiene during this moments? It is not that they haven’t heard of it or totally don’t know about it, but they don’t know what to do when the “visitors” come.

There are organizations and people distributing pads and providing trainings on the same, but some schools are not covered on the program.

One head teacher who is a female teacher stated that sometimes the girls are shy to come to school, or when they attend classes they will be forced to visit the ladies frequently to ensure they don’t mess the uniform. This means concentration in class work is lost.

Some mature women like me would not attend to some of my daily duties because of mood swing or abdominal pains (cramps), but for the young girls they will be forced to stay at home during those days because they don’t have sanitary towels/pads.

This is a challenge if not addressed with urgency, soon we will see few girls proceed to upper/secondary schools.

“Sometimes when I ask my mother for money to buy sanitary pads which is 50 shillings, she says we cannot buy pads, where will the money for food come from? So that makes me stay at home for 3 to 4 days during my MP.”

sanitary towel

sanitary towel

If some schools can afford to provide food or books to pupils then I think a pack of pads will not be a problem. Organizations, stakeholders, companies and individuals should pull forces together to find a way of sending them back to class.

What is the lasting solution to this problem?

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3 Responses to Monthly Period Causes Girls to Drop out of School in Mathare

  1. Robin Cox on June 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Days for Girls, International has a solution!! Feminine hygiene kits are being made by volunteers in the US and sent to you in Mathare and around the world! The goal is “Every girl. Everywhere. Period.” We are on it.

  2. Charlie on June 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    There are many volunteers sewing reusable feminine hygiene kits. We distribute them worldwide. Check the website for a Team or Chapter near you or fill out a request form found on the website.

  3. Cassie on June 2, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Great article, Yvonne!
    So glad you are bringing attention to this.
    I volunteer with as well. I want to add that all the information, including patterns, for making a Days for Girls menstrual kit, is on the website. Women and girls are encouraged to make the kits in country, so that they can have a sustainable small business.
    The kits lasts about 3 years and cost only a couple dollars in materials.
    We have over 350 chapters around the world!
    Thank you again.

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