Every day, thousands of Ugandan girls stay home from school. They’re likely to be off for up to seven days at a time. Every day they miss is a lost chance to build a future for themselves. But they’re not skipping school; they’ve got their period.
In Uganda, sanitary products are expensive and hard to access for many women, who instead use bits of cloth or nothing at all. This is compounded by the lack of basic hygiene facilities at many schools – a major contributor to girls staying at home when they have their period. In fact, there are 16 million women and girls without access to a safe, private toilet across Uganda.
The final taboo
“In Uganda and across large parts of Africa discussing menstruation openly is a very sensitive and often taboo subject,” says Carolynne Wheeler of WaterAid, “A lack of toilets in schools means that young girls often drop out of education when they reach puberty, limiting their life changes forever.”
Carolynne says an astonishing one in 10 girls in Africa will miss lessons during their period and eventually drop out of school all together.
Time for change
Teen Parcel* customer Hannah is trying to change that. She wrote to us recently to ask for some of our Teen Parcel sanitary pads and drawstring bags to take with her on a trip to Uganda.
As a company, we were looking for a positive use for the excess cotton bags and femcare stock we had left following Teen Parcel's rebrand to bettybox. We think you'll agree that there's no greater home for them than this one. Our little treats we take for granted every day went a long way (quite literally) – Hannah donated them to four schools in the Fort Portal region of Uganda.
Hannah says, “The girls were absolutely overwhelmed with the donations; they will really make a difference to their health and education in a country where many girls usually miss school when it is their time of the month because of not being able to keep themselves clean.”
Check out the photos Hannah sent us below – great work Hannah!
*Teen Parcel is rebranding as bettybox. Find out more here.