One of the 4 categories we suggest adding in to your Christmas Shoeboxes is the WASH category. In this category we suggest adding toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, etc.
Our three age categories are 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14 and one question we get a lot is
“Can sanitary products be added for the older girls boxes?”
The answer is YES and read on to find out why and how!
Why they’re needed In the areas that we work in ‘period poverty’ is very real, in fact in Kenya alone 50% of school-age girls do not have access to sanitary products. In Uganda fewer than 38% of girls complete primary education due to obstacles like puberty, teen pregnancy & early marriage.
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In Kenya alone 50% of school-age girls do not have access to sanitary products
Times are changing in relation to stigma around periods but in many of the countries that we work in, both in Eastern Europe and Africa, the shame and secrecy around periods prevents girls for asking for help and even from going to school, cooking and leaving their homes while they have their periods.
Even at home…
Here Ireland half of females aged 12-19 in Ireland who were surveyed in 2018 by Plan International said they have experienced issues paying for sanitary products and 61% said they felt embarrassed to talk about periods. A new committee to tackle period poverty in Ireland has been established, chaired by the Department of Health and includes representation from a number of government departments and NGOs, including the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Department of Finance.
Scotland is poised to become the first country to end “period poverty” by providing free sanitary products to women of all ages in the country.
Story in action
Our partners in Uganda produce reusable sanitary pads to enable girls to go to school every day. Team Hope are helping to grow this project so that even more girls can complete their education. Our partners employ local women to make the pads, training them in sewing and business. The pads are then given for free to girls in the community who are living in poverty, so that they complete their education without having to miss days each month when they have their periods.
Leila works with our Sanitary Towel project in Uganda and thanks to the project she is able to afford to feed herself and the 2 younger sisters she cares for and to send them to school.
What to add to your Shoebox
So what can you include? For boxes for 10-14 year old girls we suggest
- sanitary pads
- menstrual cups
- period pants
You can pick some up in your supermarket shop or for an even bigger impact, choose an option that will last! Cloth sanitary towels & menstrual cups can be washed and washed again and are reusable for up to five years!
What are the reusable options?
Reusable sanitary products help girls because they don’t need to purchase new products every month. They also dramatically cut down on waste and so are much better for the environment.
Reusable sanitary pads are made from highly absorbent cotton, they can be purchased in most eco-friendly/ health shops like Holland and Barrett, &Keep, Small Changes & Pax, WestportMenstrual cups are made from silicone and work similarly to tampons. They can be emptied, rinsed and reused several times a day. These are also stocked in health/ eco shops like The Health Store, Holland and Barrett, Pax, Westport, Small Changes, NourishPeriod pants like thinx, ModiBodi and Flux are underwear that absorb your period. They moisture-wicking, odor-controlling and leak-resistant. They can be bought at Holland and Barrett or Boots.