We call it the "Undieground Railway" -- How we get complete kits to various places in the world by sending them with people and nonprofits headed to communities in need of kits. For the past few months it has been the only way that we have had to get menstrual hygiene to Kenya. You see, pre-election violence there has been threatening and we are advised to wait a bit longer. Since we serve in many places in the world, we have the ability to keep the model growing where it is safest, but the safety advice hasn't stopped us from sending hundreds of kits over with various nonprofits serving in Kenya so that girls can continue to be reached. The results?
One reported after distributing kits that, "It was as if we had brought gold. The girls were so happy to receive their kits. I had no idea how important this would be to them."
Another said, "They were so pleased and now they want more kits." 200 kits were provided for the deaf school in Kisii, via the Ambassadors of Women's Health that were trained there last year. Wonderful proof that the model is working and needs to continue to be expanded. One girl said, "I have never had something this soft against my skin." It's wonderful that items that can last for years, work well and are easy to care for are also comfortable and help her stay in school with confidence and dignity.
It's not just the kits, it is the awareness and knowledge that is shared when kits are distributed. That is equally as powerful. The last time we were in Kenya a beautiful, articulate 16 year old came up to us after learning how periods happen and why. She explained with relief that for the 2 years since her period had started she had believed that the bleeding she experienced was a sign that she had HIV or AIDS. She was afraid to tell anyone because she feared the stigma that is associated with AIDS. Now the fear was gone. Now she knew that it was all part of a basic biological function that she could now manage on her own month after month. It's hard to imagine not having access to hygiene and perhaps harder still to imagine her 2 years of needless fear. For most of us learning about reproductive health happened in an "embarassing" classroom discussion in 5th Grade and we assume "everybody knows" but the truth is that knowledge is passed on and the instruction that comes with kits includes this important education. We're committed to empowering more and it means so much to us to have your support.
Thank you for making so much possible. Than you for helping empwer more knowledge, more kits, more girls and women being reached. We will be returning to Kenya soon and we can't wait to report what's next as Kenyans work to reach other Kenyans, in part in thanks to you!