Nkumbu learns about menstrual cups
The African Education Program (AEP) excitedly welcomed 137 girls into the 2021 Nyali Scholarship Program this Spring as we focus on girls' empowerment through education.
Education is not free after the 8th grade in Zambia and mandatory school fees keep many young people, especially girls, from realizing their full potential through access to education. Unlike most organizations that focus on a singular solution like scholarships, AEP takes a holistic approach to providing resources and opportunities so youth members can overcome any challenge they face to reach their full potential as critically thinking, innovative leaders.
AEP considers the unique challenges that each child faces over the years. Children and youth come to the center several times a week over the course of many years, providing countless touchpoints to address the challenges holding a child back. AEP’s model is not a quick fix, it is a decade long investment. Once fully immersed, if a child wants to pull themselves out of poverty, they can take advantage of the resources provided maximizing their chances of success. This model creates opportunities for youth to discover their own unique gifts and talents and helps them break their cycle of poverty while becoming inspired leaders eager to create change.
This is why we celebrate even the small success stories like training our new scholarship recipients in menstrual health. Period poverty often keeps girls and young women from attending school during their menstrual cycle due to lack of supplies and stigma. AEP works hard to partner with organizations that help us bring sustainable products to our community. Out of 26 girls in our April training, only one girl had seen or heard of a menstrual cup. The fact that a menstrual cup can be used for up to 10 years is very exciting to a young girl who worries about finding the funds to purchase menstrual products each month.
Nkumu is a 10th grade student who shared, "I was scared at first because I had never used the cup before. I followed all the instructions given to us by the staff at AEP. I found the cup more comfortable than pads though I did not expect this. I now prefer using the cup because it's comfortable. And, I do not have to worry about leaks anymore."
So thank you for helping our girls and overcome period poverty in Zambia! It is through your gifts and generous donations that we get to see smiles as bright as Nkumu's!