Volunteer Pic

 

The project idea struck me during my first week with Uganda 4 Her. We went to a school in a rural area to check up on four girls who had received reusable sanitary pads from Uganda 4 Her. When we talked to these girls they were pleased with their pads and were missing less school due to their periods. But when we were saying goodbye I noticed that there were many other girls who were in just as much need for reusable sanitary pads.

I asked our leader how do you decide who receives the pads? He told me that only the girls in the worst situations get the pads even though there are quite a number of girls at each school who desperately need them. He told me that Uganda 4 Her has few donations of reusable sanitary pads and most donation money does towards buying one-time use pads because it is cheaper. On the car ride home back to Kampala I kept thing about the confidence the girls has who had the pads and how there is such a demand for more reusable pads.

So… that’s where the idea for Pad 4 Her started in motion. Instead of relying on donated pads or for donation dollars to buy an unsustainable solution, I though Uganda 4 Her has the capacity to start making their own pads. Now that the project is set in motion and our first pilot project is completed, donations towards Uganda 4 Her not only impact girls in Uganda, but also the money who make them. Uganda 4 Her hires women in the community to create the pads. This gives them financial security and stability, while also given them the skill of sewing. Now donations that are received go towards employing women and creating reusable sanitary pads that can last up to a year for girls.

Uganda 4 Her does an amazing job teaching girls and boys about female health and menstruation, but now we are able to give them pads that will keep them healthy, in school, and give them confidence. Many girls are left to figure out how their bodies work on their own because of the taboos about menstruation in Uganda. Without the work of Uganda 4 Her many girls would not know how to properly take care of their bodies and what to expect while going through puberty.

Now Uganda 4 Her can go a step further and distribute pads to girls to ensure their attendance in school and keep their bodies clean. Girls are often left to use dirty clothes or banana tree fibers during their period which can lead to infections and dropping out of school. Menstruation is a gift it is what creates life and we want the girls to know that they are not alone. The Pad 4 Her project will be impacting girls’ and women’s lives in a positive way, and it is so inspiring to see Uganda 4 Her growing in such an impactful way.

Women in Uganda often have a harder time finding work because they are subject to house minding, child rearing, or having a husband that wants them to be reliant on them. Many women have struggled with their menstruation as a young girl and dropped out of school because of it, leaving them disadvantaged from the rest. It is important that women are able to make their own earnings because their families and children are dependent on them. This is my favorite part about this project because is spreads Uganda 4 Her’s impact beyond the schools and young girls, but now incorporates giving women financial security. At the beginning of each of the projects the women are trained on how to sew.

This gives them a tangible skill that they can take and hopefully find other employment as well.  Their salaries are often spent on the day to day things that are needed to take care of their children. By giving women their own independence they can be role models for other women and girls in their community. Uganda 4 Her is proud to have these ladies working alongside as we grow and create the Pad 4 Her project.

JOY

 

I believe that the Pad 4 Her project is a thing of joy! It is important for the girls for health and the taboo men have around menstruation. I want the girls to feel good about themselves. When a girl doesn’ t have a pad she feels like a disgrace. I know some girls use school paper when they are on their period, and they do not have the privilege to have a pad. Often girls don’ t go to school which isn’ t fair to them. I want girls to stay in school and feel more comfortable.

When I was growing up I lived with my aunty who told me to use clothes while I was on my period. I didn’ t know any better but when my mum saw what I was using she went and got pads for me. The one time use pads were a lot of money that I would have to buy every month. I started using reusable pads when I was older and could afford them. I found them to be very comfortable. The Pad 4 Her project has given me great sewing experience. Now I can teach my friends and family how to make their own pads. The money has helped solved finical problems. I have a two year old girl, so getting paid weekly has helped me get what she needs.

Phiona

I think Pad 4 Her is important because it helps the girls get what they need. I wanted to be a part of the Pad 4 Her project because I wanted to be work with Uganda 4 Her and be a part of the process.

It is an opportunity for me to help the girls. I grew up in a supportive family who always supplied me with pads. I couldn’ t imagine what these girls must go through at such a young age.  The Pad 4 Her project gives me money that I can put towards my baby that I am expecting soon. It also has given me great sewing skills and even greater fulfillment in my life.

In Uganda, girls live in a male-dominated society which dictates their educational and economic survival. Unfortunately girls are not prioritized in school or in the work force which leaves them vulnerable to being trapped in the poverty cycle.  Girls living in Uganda face a number of challenges that can impact their well-being, development, and future. Those attending school often face gender bias especially with reproductive health issues, the curriculum, and teachers themselves do not favor to female health needs. In poorer or more rural families, it is more difficult for girls to attend school, as education is often considered only important for boys. Girls in Uganda are more likely to drop out of school, marry early, and experience poverty than their male counterparts.

By starting the Pad 4 Her project we are making sure that girls do not face gender inequality because they cannot attend school due to their menstruation cycle. I have learned from the field that many girls do not have access to pads and are left to use dirty clothes that they share with siblings.