What stands between a girl and her education?
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Thursday 12th July 2018
In Ethiopia, menstruation is a taboo subject. As a result, a girl’s first period usually takes them by surprise.
I’m sure you understand that education is the most valuable thing you can give a girl. Educated girls are empowered to make better decisions about their bodies and their lives. They have access to better opportunities and pay, are at less risk of dying in childbirth and are more likely to send their own children to school. With your ongoing support I know we can reach more girls.
Two out of five Ethiopian girls miss school because of their periods. Missing school causes girls to fall behind, and many leave school altogether.
This was almost the case for Amina.
Amina is 16 and lives in Shahigubi, a small town in the Afar region of Ethiopia. She lives with her family, which is fortunate for her. Many girls at her school live far from their families having moved in search of a good education.
Amina had her first period when she was 14 years old. She knew from school what menstruation was, but these classes did nothing to change the social perceptions about it — that it is shameful, unclean, and a result of sexual activity.
During her period, Amina never went to school because she was afraid of accidents and being teased.
I’m sure you agree that no girl should miss out on getting an education just because of her period.
Lack of access to good menstrual hygiene products is one reason adolescent girls drop out of school. In Ethiopia, 85% of the population lives in rural and remote areas. It often takes substantial effort to reach these locations, hauling supplies to schools using donkeys or on foot.
Women and girls make do with home-made menstrual pads, usually created out of discarded bedding, with grass or straw.
It’s no wonder girls like Amina were forced to stay at home.
But everything changed when Amina was provided with a reusable menstruation pack from our partner, Dignity Period.
These pads are comfortable, and girls like Amina can wear them all day without having to worry about an accident. Each pack consists of four washable, reusable menstrual pads and two pairs of underwear.
Washing is easy, and Amina feels confident drying them with other laundry, because they look like any ordinary piece of cloth.
We have an easy solution to an issue that prevents girls from staying in school. But we desperately need your help to make it a reality.
Each sanitary pack costs just €3.50 to produce.
The best part is that we know your support is making an enormous difference. Dignity Period carried out a large-scale study of school attendance before and after sanitary pack distribution and found that school absences among girls dropped 24% after distribution.
We also know that just one menstrual hygiene kit can help keep girls in school for up to two years - compared to girls who do not have access to such supplies. In a developing country such as Ethiopia, two additional years of education can have a huge impact on the economy.
We have the ability to change the lives of whole communities with this initiative, not just the girls we work with.
Since Amina received her Dignity Period menstruation pack, she does not worry about being embarrassed and missing school. She enjoys biology and aspires to be a doctor so that she can help people in her area.
Please, will you consider to donate today so that we can supply more girls with a menstruation pack?
Together we can continue to help girls to complete their education and create a better future for themselves. As always, thank you for supporting Ethiopiaid in our mission of bringing health and hope to girls in Ethiopia. I am grateful to have you standing with us.