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Girls Forced To Use Rags In Place Of Sanitary Towels Due To Poverty

Sofia KE

July. 29, 2020

One of the effects Covid-19 has brought to families, is pushing them to poverty. Many cannot afford to provide essential needs. Women and girls in Taita Taveta County are facing a huge challenge. They lack access to sanitary towels.
After schools were close down due to the pandemic, schools girl who used to get free sanitary towels through the national sanitary program are no longer benefiting from it. They now depend fully on their parents to provide the pads. Parents who are pinned to the wall by Coronavirus effects, are forced to prioritize on food provisions since that’s what their source of income allows.
Girls are now forced to use rags in place of sanitary pads.
"I have three young girls who are now forced to use pieces of cloth because I cannot afford these essential items for them every month," said Ms. Jeniffer Ayub, a parent at Majengo slums.
Ms. Jeniffer says it was a relief before schools were closed down.
 "During the last school holiday, the girls were given enough packets but this time round, they did not get anything," she said.
Several organizations are now distributing menstrual hygiene supplies to young girls affected by the pandemic.  Through the Kenya Red Cross society, 2000 young girls from vulnerable families have benefited. Joram Oranga, the County Coordinator, said they are also sensitizing the girls on menstrual health and hygiene.
"We will continue giving them the sanitary pads until this pandemic is over," Joram said.
Fatuma Salim, a human rights activist in Taita Taveta, has been educating girls on menstrual hygiene through her initiative. She has managed to reach more than 170 girls in Kaloleni village in Voi. Her aim is to expand her scope to Mwatate, Taveta and Wundanyi sub counties.
"The girls open up to me saying they beg for money from friends and in some instances, from men, to buy pads. Some men take advantage of their situation and prey on them. Next month, we will start the distribution drive in all the four sub counties," she said
Fatuma says the government should chip in to provide sanitary towels to the vulnerable girls. She says several initiatives have been put in place however matters menstrual health have been left out.
"The government should provide menstrual materials to the young girls to prevent them from engaging in harmful activities in exchange for the commodity," she said.
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