“Malawian girls are missing school for at least five days every month due to a lack of access to sanitary products”, says Sarah Brook, founder of Sparkle Malawi.
According to UNICEF, 1 in 10 African schoolgirls misses or drops out of school entirely due to insufficient menstrual products and poor access to proper sanitation. Girls often miss up to five school days each month, meaning they lose as much as 20% of the academic year.
Jenn Phillbrook of Little Kickers, kindly raised charitable funds and decided to devote some of these to purchasing AfriPads - reusable menstrual kits designed to provide superior feminine hygiene protection and comfort.
Jenn commented “I have to admit, I was really shocked to hear the statistics of how many girls miss such a huge part of their education due to something completely out of their control. Everyone has the right to an education so I wanted to help in some small way, and seeing the impact these simple products have already made has been simply incredible.”
Sarah Brook adds:
“Girls in Malawi face enormous challenges to stay in school. The lack of sanitation facilities in schools combined with the stigma around periods makes the situation much worse. At Sparkle, we want to empower girls to further their education, so it is important we look at different solutions to keep them in school. This is the best chance of achieving a brighter future.
Surveys routinely indicate that women are even uncomfortable discussing menstruation with their family - mother and sisters included – so promoting openness and education is crucial.
Not only did Jenn’s money go towards providing AfriPads for the local community and school children of Sparkle, it also paid for a three-hour seminar where people learned about periods and how to use the products.
Mwayi Mpinganjira, an employee at Sparkle Malawi and AfriPads recipient, concluded:
“I've never seen brighter faces than on the day our girls received the sanitary pads. It means no longer having to miss five days of school just because of periods.
“Most of us grew up without education about how we can take care of ourselves during menstruation, but our girls have been empowered and equipped to approach it in a healthy manner. On behalf of the children, we say thank you for this great gift.”
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