A young girl, Mariam Maganzi vividly recalls the psychologically torture she has been going through for not accessing sanitary pads.
Her parents are poor and she doesn’t blame them for her physical changes but blames the government for ignoring menstrual hygiene debate in the country.
Maganzi a student at Kashani girl’s high school admits that it has been a nightmare for her and her peers when at their monthly flow as they lack the basic need for girls.
Ms Maganzi who lives in Kashani within Kisauni constituency, Mombasa County wants the government to prioritise menstrual hygiene issue so as to safeguard girls from both physical and psychological suffering.
“One may think that 50 shillings is very little for anyone to have and purchase sanitary towel, they forget that parents living deplorably will only think of buying food,” noted Ms Maganzi.
She is not the only one who opens up about the tough times they face during monthly cycle.
Mercy Katana also a high school student reveals that one of her peers was actually impregnated because of lack of such important hygiene napery.
[The youthful Gender activist Mr. Salim Mohammed Marco. Photo/Bakari Ali].
“We live in poverty and accessing a sanitary pad to some of us is an axe to grind,” noted Ms Katana.
She admits that though some schools benefited from such hygiene programs, school have remain closed for long sending the girls into more problems during their monthly periods.
However, the girls can now breathe a sigh a of relief after People of Victory youth Organisation initiated a sanitary pads program aimed at putting a smile on the faces of these girls.
People of Victory Founder and Chairperson Salim Mohammed Marco said the initiative was triggered by the physical and psychological pain girls are going through for lack of sanitary towels.
Speaking during distribution of hygiene packs consisting of sanitary napkin and underwears to over 100 girls at Kashani secondary school in Kisauni, Mr. Marco said the noble initiative is positively impacting menstrual hygiene management in Mombasa.
According to Marco, needy girls have been prioritised since some use pieces of clothes which is unhygienic.
Sex for pads
“What pains me most is when a young girl is subjected to sexual violence so that she gets sanitary pads, this is truly shameful,” disclosed Mr. Marco.
He said though the initiative is yet to be supported by other partners apart from the youth own contributions, it has equipped over 500 girls in Mombasa with a three months hygiene pack.
“We target the peri-urban and slum areas where girls live in acute poverty and depends on well-wishers for such basic need,” revealed the young gender and girl child rights activists.
The youthful gender activist says if the program get the required support it will enable many girls in Mombasa and the entire Coast region access sanitary towels without any obstacles.
He says People of Victory youth Organisation is currently mobilising resources to reach many needy girls in the entire Coast region with Tana River County being the most affected.
[People of Victory youth Organisation Founder and Chairperson Salim Mohammed Marco issuing sanitary pad to Mariam Maganzi at Kashani, in Kisauni, Mombasa County. Photo/Bakari Ali].
“In Tana River County for example, reports indicate that girls are forced to use cow dung when in their monthly flow,” he disclosed.
Marco appealed to other stakeholders and all the Coast county governments to join hands in securing the girls menstrual hygiene issue.
“Menstrual hygiene if poorly handled cause psychological torture, low self-esteem, low dignity, shameful feeling among girls among many more menstrual physical and mental ills. As youth we want to tame this painful encounter among our girls,” said the young gender activist.