This Christmas give the gift of education.

Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 14th December 2017

Education is the most valuable thing you can give a child

Hard work and sacrifices are required in order to provide our children with the best opportunities available. In rural Ethiopia many girls walk hours each day to achieve an education, often sent to live far away by their families in order to attend school.

Growing up can be a difficult time for girls. Balancing the demands of school, friendships and family with becoming a young woman. Imagine on top of this starting your period and not knowing what was happening to you. Facing humiliation and shame unable to afford, or even access, a sanitary pack.

Harifeya is 16 years old and at the top of her class at Adigudem Secondary School in a small town in Tigray. She is from a  farming family in Wujurat, about 22 miles away from her school, and is only able to visit her family home once a month. For girls like Harifeya, starting the period is a difficult experience. 

‘When I first started to menstruate, I did not know what it was...[it] came suddenly when I was working on the farm... I was very shocked and embarrassed...I did not tell anyone the first day. The second day the blood came again. I was very embarrassed...’ 

In rural Ethiopia menstruating girls have little or no support. This important step into womanhood is not openly talked about and is seen as a source of shame. 98% of girls in Tigray lack access to sanitary products which are expensive and difficult to find. Many don’t possess underwear either. Girls are forced to use whatever materials are available such as grass, leaves, old rags or nothing at all.

During their periods girls are afraid to go to school where they often face ridicule and embarrassment. In addition to this, the majority of schools have inadequate, if any, toilet and washing facilities. As a result, many girls drop out of school altogether, missing their chance to create a better future for themselves.

We know that we can transform the lives of young girls like Harifeya.

Perhaps you are wondering how your gift could make a difference. The answer is our new partner, an organisation called Dignity Period. They are focuses on changing attitudes to menstruation in Tigray schools and communities, supporting girls to stay in education. Working with a local enterprise, which employs more than 50 local women, they produce and distribute reusable sanitary packs which include soap, pads and underwear.

Thanks to supporters like you, Harifeya will remain in school and she will pursued her dream of becoming an obstetrician-gynaecologist so she can help young women just like her.

Please consider giving a donation to supply girls with a menstruation pack.

Together we can help girls to complete their education and create a better future for themselves!


Click on the video above to learn about our partner Dignity Period 
Video credit Dignity Period. Photography Joni Kabana




Wishing you a peaceful festive season.

Ethiopiaid Ireland team.





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