Most girls in Northern Uganda rely on free sanitary pads distributed at their school but with the schools shut and community lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, many have no access to sanitary pads.
“We used to get sanitary pads from my school in Acet Omoro District. Now that schools are closed, I'm in my village with no access to sanitary pads I have to use pieces of paper (used newspaper), which is very uncomfortable,” says Milam 17-year-old. “I feel sad and embarrassed I am afraid to sit down for the possibility of soiling my clothes.”
The measures imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda have resulted in economic stress in families that are putting girls and women at a disadvantage. Many have been cut off from essential sexual and reproductive health services, economic activities, and social networks.
When the government announced lockdowns my family used their savings to stock on food and supplies, but sanitary pads were not considered. Those are normally considered a luxury. I am always glad to go to school as we can get the lucky girl pads from school,” Milam explains.
To respond to girls in this crisis, we are working with the District Task Force formed by the Ugandan government to distribute 4,350 sanitary towels to adolescent girls in Northern Uganda.
"There are millions of girls affected by the COVID-19 pandemic having been used to accessing sanitary towels in schools," Monica says.
Moving forward, we need your help to prevent and support adolescent girls to continue with their education. please consider your gift to our efforts, ensuring the fights for equality, dignity, and justice continues. You can help us to multiply this impact with your generous donation.
Innocent at 12 years age in primary 7, she got pregnant because a man promised to buy her sanitary pads and books so that she stays in school in exchange for having sex with her, She lucked information about reproductive health and options like many other girls in Uganda. All her dreams to become a Nurse were shattered because her education prematurely ended after sitting her primary 7 exams.
Innocent's Uncle after learning about her pregnancy jubilated because it was a chance for him to get bride price, Immediately she was told to go and start her family.
"My mother told me to go after delivery I will go back to school and I accepted," I was told that my family's decision that I should get married so that the wealth will be used to marry for my bother as it is the practice in our culture" Innocent emphasizes I still believe I WILL GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND REALISE DREAM OF BECOMING A NURSE
Child marriage in Nwoya Northern Uganda stands at 68%. According to the Annual Crime Report (2017). We are convinced that the pursuit of gender justice starts with protecting young girls from being forced or sold into a marriage. Child marriage is a violation of human rights. Access to sanitary pads to young girls is one way to prevent and support your girls to continue with their education.
This year alone we manufactured and distributed 1.5+ million sanitary pads to girls in schools and in the refugee community. We continue to see vast improvements in health and hygiene, self-esteem, and school attendance. We are creating employment opportunities within our small social enterprise and building a future with dignity for our girls!
Moving forward, we need your help to prevent and support your girls to continue with their education. Please consider a year-end gift to our effort, ensuring the fight for equality, dignity, justice continues. Help us multiply this impact with your generous donation
At the age of 12, Nancy started her menstrual cycle, which she says was very painful. Her friends advised her to engage in sex as one of the ways to reduce the pain. “When I started my periods, I asked my mother for money to buy sanitary pads but she told me she didn’t have the money she did not offer me any advice,” says Nancy.
Helpless, scared and confused my friend of the same age advised me to get a boyfriend who can buy me sanitary pads to which I accepted with hope the hope that once I get a boyfriend, he would provide sanitary pads for me and I will be able to continue with my education.
"The boyfriend demanded sex in exchange for buying me sanitary pads to which I refused and I feared it so much. I started hiding and I never go back to class fearing boys and girls will laugh at me. One day he found me alone on my way home, he raped me. A month later, I realized I had missed my period. I told my mother who checked me and confirmed I was pregnant. My family decided to force me to marry the boy who raped me. My dream of becoming a doctor ended the day he raped me".
Our interventions this quarter focused on changing cultural norms through creating awareness about the dangers of child marriage and early pregnancy, Provide leadership and education for community members and leaders to influence positive policies around gender justice and human rights, Strengthen community based advocacy and activism around human rights and justice, Providing intervention, mediation, and support for young women and girls affected by child marriage; facilitating dialogues between community, families and leaders.
Moving forward, we need your help to continue providing opportunities and resources to women and girls. Please consider a year-end gift to our effort, ensuring the fight for equality, dignity, and justice continues.
Akello school girl got her first period at school and had to use toilet paper to pad her self when she went back she asked her mother for sanitary pads. Her mother suggested she find herself a husband to pay for them. Akello was just 13. Many girls in Northern Uganda drop out of education when they begin menstruating because their schools lack proper washrooms or because they cannot afford costly sanitary pads mostly all imported from China. Many girls end forced into child marriages by parents too poor to buy sanitary pads.
“Most of my friends dropped out of school because they did not have basic things they needed like sanitary pads, just like me,” I had to endure monthly embarrassment, I had to miss classes for days fearing boys to laugh at me during my periods because I could not afford to have proper sanitary pads. My parents kept on encouraging me to get married but I refused because I wanted to stay in school so that I can achieve my dream of becoming a nurse." ...Akello said...
“When girls are out of school because they cannot manage their periods it's hard for them to avoid marriage.”
We continue to address this gap by locally producing and supplying affordable sanitary pads to school girls and refugees. JUST in the last 3 months we have distributed 3,780 packs of sanitary pads for free, we have conducted menstrual health education in school, and conducted community dialogues to create awareness among parents to prioritize buying sanitary pads for their daughters to enable them to stay in school and concentrate to their education which is a very powerful tool in the prevention of child marriage.
With your support, we have expanded our production unit to produce more pads that will reach out to more girls saving them from the embarrassment they undergo every month. We want to continue reaching to more girls with education, and supplies of affordable sanitary products. We are hopeful you will continue to support this noble cause with your generous donation.
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