We are girls, we are proud to talk about menstruation. Every girl should have a happy flow. We have access to sanitary pads and reusable sanitary pads to make us comfortable in our periods. We achieved this through the support of FSD intern students and St Francis Health care services. Brooklyn, Alexandria, Madeline and Micheal were students from Notre Dame university who virtually participated on FSD virtual internship and supported the group of young girls in Malindi to address their menstrual health challenges.
With the support from St Francis and FSD team, the students identified a need for the young girls to access hygienic and sustainable menstrual pads. Disposable pads, which are preferred hygienic option, are often too expensive for some community members. This creates a need for other, more sustainable options. To address that need, the students’ project sought to teach girls how to create their own reusable, cloth pad. These pads can be washed and reused thus minimizing waste and expenses. The girls could use the acquired knowledge to teach other girls in the neighborhood how to make these pads and sell them to other community members.
During the project implementation, the students employed two key activities, which were led by the trainer from St Francis HC. In the first activity, the girls participated in group discussions about the biology of the menstrual cycle, social norms and stigmas surrounding menstrual health, and the various products used during their period. The second activity was teaching the girls how to make a reusable pad. Everyone followed the instructions provided by the trainer and each successfully made a pad.
Through the continued training on menstrual health, the girls felt empowered to know their rights. They also gained confidence on how to properly handle menstrual health challenges whenever the occur. As means of ensuring sustainability of the project, the girls plan to sensitize their fellow adolescent girls in the community neighborhood and the schools they go to. They plan on using the knowledge of making reusable pads to make several pads and sell out to the local community to generate incomes to help them meet the requirements that would enable the project grow.