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By Esther Ayaa
HCU is excited to announce our newest partnership under the project Girl Power with She for She, a Women’s Education and Empowerment NGO which teaches local women to manufacture safe, environmentally-friendly reusable pads, and distributes them to women around the world. On September 20, there was a one day training held at Hope Center Uganda which was facilitated by our lovely sisters from She for She. The training targeted 22 participants but due to overwhelming interest , the organization ended up hosting 35 members for the training and this was so amazing.
The category of participants then included boys , girls, mothers and fathers and this made it a success because the boys also needed to know their roles in their sisters life’s and breaking the circle of the Acholi cultural rigidity that says “a girl menstruating is so dirty and needed to stay alone and not mingle with others” and “not to talk to any one about menstruation because it was said to be secret, not telling any one about it.”
This which was not fair enough for girls and women menstruating making some dropping out of school at an early age. Mothers also needed to be making the girls know by talking openly about menstruation the girls will never fall out of school for fear of other children laughing at them during period. Our mothers needed to also know that even with the little resources they have they can afford this pads and can be locally made available.
Such training is the first of its kind and none of the participants thought they could be able to produce pads locally with locally available materials and normal machines and moreso in Gulu.
“How amazing to be an ambassador of pads production at HCU such a rare opportunity thanks so much HCU.” – Prossy, Girl Power participant
The women were so glad to know that the re-usable pads can be safely used for one year which is economically very affordable, and they also realized that the pads is actually very easy to wash and keep safe. Above all the pads is very comfortable because the water proof material sown inside gives you the confidence that blood can not leak out and this is so amazing. The women went ahead saying, let the organization attach a value on each pads for women to own it and feel the value of their money.
The organization plans to produce and package the pads in a beautiful small bag that can be fixed in handbags and school bags wherever you go during menstruation , in the packs we will have three pads and a piece of soap to make the young girls always use soap when washing the pads to keep clean their hygiene. Initially, the program was meant for young girls but we realized the mature women are also more than interested to benefit from the program because it is cheap and affordable for all. Assessments will be done in communities that needs the supply , and register on the number of people interested , and trainings are done before and after distribution of the pads on the key topic ‘Menstrual Hygiene’ and constant follow up on the hygiene of the girls and mothers on monthly basis.
The communities shall be expected to pay an affordable amount for each package the money the organization shall be receiving from the selling of the pads, will be put back in the facilitation of the production process that will include constant buying of the materials so that the program is self sustaining . The organization also plans to put at least once a year, a taboo-battling ‘Menstruation Party’ whereby a lot of girl issues are discussed and its an open day to buy the pads from the organization, create awareness, and also get feedbacks on how the pads is being helpful to them. This can be done in a given school or community chosen by the organization and local leaders of various communities according to the needs assessments.
And by everybody being role models in sensitizing girls, no girl will ever get married young or drop out of school. Hence restoring back the dignity and confidence in the women and girls through a handful support all round, starting from the family level to community leaders.
Stay in touch with the amazing work of She for She!