On July 5th, Days for Girls ambassadors Christine Khatima and Alice Wambui Mwangi conducted a training and provided reusable pads for 50 girls at Bondeni Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Supreme Kits – which include two panties, eight reusable liners, two shields, a wash cloth, soap, a transportation bag and instructions – were sponsored by Katie Fischer, founder of Unveil, a US-based social enterprise intimates line with a one-to-one business model.
“This marked Unveil’s first contribution since being launched,” Fischer told The Weight She Carries. “It was incredibly moving and special to see. Being there with the girls reinforces why I will continue to work tirelessly on my business.”
Fischer said that for every panty purchased from her line, a washable, reusable Period Panty is provide to a girl in a developing country.
Ahead of her trip to Kenya, Fischer reached out Days For Girls to find out how to arrange a school donation.
“Helping even just one girl with the support to live a full and equal life is a dream come true,” Fischer said. “Helping 50 is overwhelmingly special. Hopefully, I can help thousands around the world in the years to come.”
Khatima and Mwangi, worked with together with teachers and school officials to determine which students had the most difficulty accessing sanitary products.
“Bondeni is a very big public school in Nairobi with a lot of refugees. A lot of girls come from the slums, so I usually talk to the class teaches and target the ones who miss school because they don’t have something to manage their periods,” Khatima said. “That’s how I choose them.”
Khatima said missing school is a very big problem for many of the girls.
Days for Girls International provides washable pads that last for 3+ years. Training girls on menstrual hygiene is another key area the organization focuses on.
“That moment when somebody comes and rescues you from that shameful moment, you really feel good,” Khatima said. “When we do the training, we let people know that for three-plus years, they will never go without a pad. They will never feel shame. We call them Days for Girls meaning more days for girls to stay in school during menstruation.”
Mwangi, who travelled to Nairobi for the event, took to her Facebook page to express her gratitude for the donation.
“We appreciate Katie’s business for purchasing Days For Girls washable pads and donating them to these precious girls,” she wrote. “There was so much joy to see. They will stay in school without shame of menstruation.”
In addition to running her business, Fischer is completing her masters at Georgetown University.
“I am writing my thesis on these same issues – women’s menstruation in developing countries, but primarily how complex emergencies and disasters can exacerbate these issues,” she said. ‘My hope is to become an expert on the topic, to share the knowledge, publish research and get this issue out in the public’s eye, all while igniting change though my business.”
Diana T. Nelson, who is the Global Advocacy Director for Days for Girls International and helped connect Fischer to Khatima and Mwangi, said the importance of communities rallying around girls to ensure they have menstrual equity cannot be underestimated.
“When a girl has more confidence and opportunity, she is more likely to channel her success back into the community,” Nelson said. “So, an investment in a girl is ultimately an investment in the community.”
Several organizations have chosen to invest in the menstrual needs of girls, including 100 Humanitarian International, which donates 50 Supreme Kits to Days for Girls each month.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.