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Published:May 29th, 2006 04:16 EST
Kibera and Mukuru Daughters are Bleeding - Please Help Us

Kibera and Mukuru Daughters are Bleeding - Please Help Us

By Francis Karugah

In the sprawling mathare, kibera and mukuru Kwa njenga slums, many residents are casual laborers earning a minimum wage of 150 shillings everyday. Most of them are parents and this money is used for basics such as food, rent, and clothes. This leaves little for other things and it is in this that girls in that region are suffering because most of the parents cannot afford to buy sanitary towels for them at the end of each month, since a pack of ten costs 65 shillings-- a costly affair for people in this region and other parts of the country with such low wage earners.

Therefore, most girls choose to improvise by using pieces of clothes to trap their menstrual flow. But, they are not effective as they leak and if not properly handled can lead to serious infections to the user. Girls interviewed by KISS 100 Nairobi said that they have had to miss school for up to five days during their periods for fear of their improvised pads leaking, and also said that most boys didn’t understand and the ridicule they got caused a lot of stress to them as they couldn’t control their periods.

They asked the government to include sanitary towels in the budgets of the ministry of education and health respectively, keeping them in school. As soon as the interview was aired, radio presenter Caroline Mutoko started a drive asking people to help these girls by buying them sanitary towels. The response was great, prompting a partnership with Proctor and Gamble-- the makers of Always brand towels where they give a pack for every pack donated by the public.

The pads are usually dropped in bins in several supermarkets in the city. School children have also joined the drive and more recently the Divas of the Nile, a group of popular artists from Nyanza province are also in the drive, and their message is clear: “it is not right for girls to be missing school for a week for something she cannot control”.

Over the past month, distribution of all the pads has been going on in several parts of the city and many can sleep in peace knowing girls wont miss school again because of this problem. To help these girls, contact or