This week I got my period and it was not a big deal at all. Actually it wasn’t any kind of deal. I had tampons on me when I noticed it, 26-years of continued education about my body means I have spotting the signs it’s a few days away down to a fine art, and I’m on the Pill so I didn’t even really suffer any discomfort. Beyond pulling out my laundry day underwear nothing changed at all, because this isn’t a post about how much my period sucks. My period is my buddy.
This is a post about how much African teenage girl’s periods suck. One in ten African school girls skip classes during their period because they don’t have access to tampons and pads. They average four or five days off a month, that’s up to 60 days or two months spent confined at home because of something as basic as not having pads available. Sure maybe sometimes we feel lucky to have Naprogesic or a partner who knows how to make a peppermint tea, but in reality the fact you could go to school without a blood stain is a huge socioeconomic gift.
Understanding the impact two months paralysed at home by a basic sanitary issue can have on the lives of young women who already are often fighting to make it to school, Ugandan organisation AFRIpads teamed up with Australian brand Moxie. Together they’re producing and supplying sanitary products (we need a better name for that) for school girls in Uganda.
The result has been Pads for Pads, every time a packet of Moxie’s Slender Pads, Slender Liners, or Sleepovers Pads are sold locally an equivalent amount of locally made, reusable pads (in the form of Deluxe Menstrual Kits) is provided to Ugandan school girls who otherwise would not have access to them.
Not only do the kits provide comfort and a small break in the awkwardness of being a teenage girl, but the locally hand-made products also create employment for local women. The result supports local generation of income for women and educational training around personal finance and banking for the employees.
Since their 2013 launch over 4,000 Ugandan school girls have been supplied not only the kits, but also education on menstruation and sexual health.
You know what to do, get menstruating!