In Q2 and Q3, our team carried out 43 Menstrual Hygiene workshops and reached 177 teenage girls and their mothers (a total of 354 beneficiaries) who received Sanitary Kits and Food Packs respectively.
Each Sanitary Kit contains a bucket, a Girl Talk booklet, 2 panties, 1kg of soap and a pack of 5 re-usable pads which will last them for 12-18 months. Each mum received a Food Pack that would serve their families 15 meals, making it a total of 2,655 meals.
Behind the numbers on this graphic are some powerful stories. Powerful stories of resilience and courage. Stories that are piercing the veil of shame surrounding women’s bodies and experiences that many of us carry whether knowingly or unknowingly.
We look at these numbers and they remind us of the teenage girls, their mothers, their hopes, their dreams and their ambition. They remind us of how empowering each one of their stories is.
One such powerful story came from Damaris (Mama Everline): "I talk to my daughter about everything because I don't want her to miss out on important information about her body. I wasn’t taught by anyone when I was younger and I don't want it to be like that for her. I treat her like my best friend.” She shared this with us after attending one of our workshops.
Another story comes from Lavine, a young student in Dunga who received a sanitary kit last year when she attended a Menstrual Health and Hygiene workshop.
“I have been using the pads ever since. I think I was allergic to the other one (disposable pads) but these are very comfortable and my favourite. And it also helps my mom save money every month.” She hopes to attend another MHH workshop this year and for this program to continue in her school! So do we.
Each one of our workshops ended with a set of positive affirmations… hands on our hearts while repeating these lines.
“My body is my home and I am going to take care of it.
I promise to finish school and make myself proud.
My voice is valuable and my opinions matter.”
Some even thought of it as a prayer. What better way to end workshops than with kindness and love.
Our Future Generation
Latifah volunteered during one of the Menstrual Health and Hygiene sessions to demonstrate to her peers how to put a pad on. And she did it with so much confidence! Also, she wants to become the President of our country when she grows up.
Apart from our future leader, we also met future neurosurgeons, doctors, fashion designers, engineers, lawyers, pilots and you name it! We had everyone.
During these workshops, we were able to empower 102 teenage girls (and their mothers) with sanitary packs made up of 2 panties, 2 tissue rolls, 1kg of soap and a re-usable sanitary kit that contains 5 pads that will last them for 12-18 months! Each mother also received a small food pack that would serve their families 15 meals.
Our team was so inspired by the many stories and experiences that were shared during theses sessions by the mothers, girls, teachers and our speakers. Stories and experiences that are breaking barriers and empowering our future generation of girls.
The highlight of these workshops was when a mother approached our team after her session and asked, “Can I bring my other daughters for this talk? I think it will really boost their confidence and self-esteem.”'
Tracking Progress and Growth
Our Sanitary Pads Program is designed to address the gender equity gap at schools that is often caused by lack of access to sanitary pads. Over the past few years, as this program has grown and reached over 542 girls, we have been thinking about how we can track and capture the result of this program for our donors.
We take accountability very seriously at RKF and work hard to achieve the goals we set out at the beginning of every year. And with our new tracker graphic, you will be able to track the progress we make as we make it!
So how does it work? It’s quite simple… every time a girl receives a sanitary pad kit, the pad is filled with numbers in the respective quarter she receives it. And as more girls receive kits over the year, the pad “wings”, which represent empowerment, keep growing bigger and bigger.
Pad trivia: Did you know that RKF primarily provides re-usable kits to ensure that girls have long-term access to pads and to reduce the impact of disposable pads on the environment?
COVID Relief Update
Over 108,000 meals served in the past year through our COVID Relief Program and more than KES 2.5million (~US$23,200) in savings generated for vulnerable communities in Kisumu County.
When we began this journey, we just wanted to help and play a role in mitigating the suffering within our communities. As we spoke to families, we kept learning about the harsh impact they were facing as a result of an economic downturn resulting from this pandemic. So, we kept pushing ourselves, through various ups and downs, month after month, to repurpose our programs and keep this relief effort going.
And here we are... 108,000 meals to over 1,000 families, 618 offline education packs to students during lockdown and 175 sanitary kits for at-risk teenage girls.
An impact story we want to share that really touched us came from Liz, a 13 year old student who shared with us that on the day her mother received a food pack from The Rahul Kotak Foundation, they had absolutely no food left at home and the food pack kept them going for 10 days. As Kisumu is currently experiencing a surge in cases and facing the impact of strict containment measures, we are reaching out to even more families. If you would like to continue supporting our relief efforts, please consider making a donation.
We would also like to honor the generosity of donors near and afar, the resilience of our team, our incredible interns and volunteers and everyone who has shared a kind, encouraging word in support. In the midst of this pandemic, our organization also marked its fifth anniversary.
Upcoming July Bonus Day
Mark the date: 14th July 2021. July Bonus Day is an upcoming fundraising campaign by GlobalGiving where all donations from $100 and above will be matched as follows:
15% match on donations from $100 - $499
30% match on donations from $500 - $749
50% match on donations from $750 - $1,000
There will be $400,000 matching funds available and we’re counting on donations from this campaign to keep our COVID Relief efforts going until the end of 2021.
A Powerful Story of Girls Empowering Girls
Hildah is a high school student who attended one of our Menstrual Hygiene workshops with her younger sister. Towards the end of it, she volunteered to stand up and explain to the younger girls how to put on a reusable pad and she did that with so much confidence!
We were so impressed by her confidence, we asked her about her experience of speaking to a group of younger girls and older women. This is what she had to say:
“I was shy but I gathered some courage and stood up because I wanted my sister to learn and not miss out on these important issues. We don’t have these talks or program in our school. I wish we did though, because me and girls in my school would have benefited so much.
I will always be ready to attend another workshop!”
Here is to girls empowering girls!!
International Women’s Week
8th March is International Women’s Day and this year we are #ChoosingToChallenge. Our girls project, Empower and Educate the Girls of Rural Kisumu makes sanitary kits and menstrual hygiene workshops accessible to young girls. This ensures:
So far, this program has reached over 440 girls and 200 mums. This year, we are hoping to take that number to 1,000 girls and 550 mums. And this depends entirely on your support and continued generosity.
To celebrate International Women’s Week, GlobalGiving is matching all donations of up to US$50 by 50% from 8th March to 12th March.
Continued COVID Relief Work
We continue to be in awe of the impact that has been created by your generosity over the past year. As we continue to support families that were impacted adversely by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, we feel a deep sense of gratitude for the support YOU – our incredible community of donors – have given to us.
By the end of February, we have been able to support 881 families (4,172 beneficiaries) providing a total of nearly 75,000 meals. Prior to the re-opening of schools, we were able to support 607 students with education packs that helped them continue to learn at home. We were also able to support 140 teenage girls and their mothers through our menstrual hygiene workshops where we discussed important issues like: personal and menstrual hygiene, body image and sex education. Each girl also received a sanitary kit that will last them at least 12 months and enable them to continue to go to school.
The relief we have been able to provide over the past year has resulted in savings of over KES 1.5 million (US$ 15,000) for the 881 families that have helped them cover bills and other expenses like rent in these difficult times.
Woohoo!! We have exciting news!
We are so deeply honoured to have received recognition from GlobalGiving yet again! These badges are awarded to non-profits to recognize their efforts in different areas every year. And for the second year in a row, we have received all 6 badges that GlobalGiving has to offer.
RKF has received badges for being a top-ranked, highly effective and vetted organization. We are also site-visit verified which means a member of the GlobalGiving team has visited our projects and verified the work we are doing. We were also selected as a Staff Favourite and Project of the Month!
Furthermore, we received a badge from GreatNonProfits.com in November 2020.
International Women's Week
This week, GlobalGiving is matching all donations up to $50 by 50%. And only 48 hours left before the campaign ends. By making a donation, you join us in our movement to #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender inequality. Your donation will go towards making sanitary kits and menstrual health workshops accessible to young girls in some of the most vulnerable communities of Kisumu County. By this:
So far, this program has reached over 440 girls and 200 mums. This year we are hoping to take this number to 1,000 girls and 550 mums... and this depends entirely on your support.
“Over a period of three months in lockdown due to COVID-19, 152,000 Kenyan teenage girls became pregnant.” - GlobalCitizen.com
There has been uproar in the country over the past few months about the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies, but much of the conversation around this topic has placed the blame on either the pandemic or the girls. Not on the sexual predators who exploit our girls in desperate circumstances.
“Sex for pads” resulting from many families not being able to afford sanitary pads and lack of timely sex education remain some of the main reasons why teenage pregnancies in Kenya have traditionally been high and are on the rise during lockdown. 98% of teenage girls who become pregnant drop out of school. Period poverty has continuously had an adverse effect on the education journey of a large population of teenage girls, especially during the pandemic when families have lost their major source of income and have to make tough choices between food and sanitary pads.
RKF’s Sanitary Program aims to empower girls by providing sanitary kits and menstrual hygiene and sexual/reproductive health workshops. We recently carried out a COVID Relief exercise with the girls of Year 7 from St. Vitalis Nang’a Primary School (together with their mothers).
We created a Circle of Power…
All the girls were asked to sit in the circle next the mum of another girl. For the entire workshop, all girls and mothers had open conversations around physical health, body shame, going through puberty and menstrual hygiene. We witnessed as every workshop progressed from awkward beginnings to long conversations filled with laughter and curious questions that we all realized should be part of normal conversation. We created a circle of power in which we were able to start breaking barriers and the taboo and stigma around our periods. These workshops were facilitated by James Bosse (SAGE Kenya) to whom we are grateful for making these workshops so engaging.
94 girls received Sanitary Kits (each kit contains panties, tissue, a bar of soap, a bucket and a sanitary kit which has 6 re-usable pads and 2 storage bags). These pads last nearly 12-18 months. Each mum also received a basic Food Pack which has dry rations to last them between 7-10 days that will serve a total of nearly 9,400 meals.
Through the COVID Relief work we have been doing over the past few months, we have also been able to:
We spoke to Christine, the mother of a student in Year 6 who attended a Sanitary Workshop during the COVID Relief exercise to tell us about her experience. Here is what she had to say:
"I loved the workshop very much, it taught me how to be open with my daughter. The community I come from, parents do not usually talk about 'such things' (menstrual health and women's bodies) with their children. It is very hard to be open with them.
I feel closer to my daughter after that day, we have been sharing stories together and I can talk to her freely now. As a parent, it feels very good. I also learnt about hygiene and how to take care of myself. I wish my parents taught me these things when I was young because during my school time, we just had teachers teaching about periods and everything.
If I have to choose between buying pads and food, you know that food always comes first. I would ask my daughter to use old clothes during her periods.
Now, I am saving and I don't have to make a choice because she has pads from RKF. The food pack you gave me will last up to 2 weeks for my family. I would be very happy to join another event like this if your team have it."
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