Menstrual hygiene boost as school receives sanitary towels
The World Menstrual and Hygiene Day, marked globally on May 28, could not have been celebrated better by the more than 1,000 Ngara Girls students than receiving a consignment of sanitary pads from a group of old girls of the school.
At exactly 7am last Friday, the school bell rang bringing all the girls to the school assembly area.
Before them was some school’s old girls, who have since founded Ngara Girls Alumni Association (NGAA).
Their presence was good news to the girls as summarised by the school captain, 17-year old Valentine Wanjiru, Guidance and Counseling teacher Grace Magak and the Principal Dr Beatrice Ndiga.
“The sanitary towels are a big boost to the school,” the school captain said.
Wanjiru confirmed that most of the students do not perform well because they do not fully engage in school activities due to lack of menstrual hygiene materials.
“You may find a girl who is not fully equipped with necessities that she requires in school, one of them, and most important, being sanitary pads. This, therefore, makes it hard for her, to concentrate in class,” she noted.
But with the donation of 100 boxes of sanitary towels by the association led by its President Regina Ombam, the school captain believes it will boost the girls’ performance.
“I am so sure that this is going to boost most of our students, to actually improve the performance of the school,”she stated.
Anchored in law
In June 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Basic Education Amendment Act into law, which commits the government to providing free, quality and sufficient sanitary pads for all girls in public schools.
However, thousands of girls are forced to stay away from school because they are not facilitated to manage their menstruation.
Studies have shown that girls from poor families miss 20 per cent of school days in a year due to lack of sanitary towels.
Ndiga said this has also been noticed at Ngara Girls as the government concentrates more on schools in informal settlements.
“This is the reason why some schools like ours do not get the required attention as required by the law.
It is important to note that some of the students here, also come from those slums and are equally needy.
“We would, therefore, like to appeal that when decisions are made at the Ministry level on which schools should benefit in terms of sanitary towels and in management of menstrual flow and hygiene, then that should cut across the board,” she added.
Ndiga said that the gesture by the alumni goes a long way, even beyond just a donation, but also an inspiration to the girls.
On her part, Ombam,who joined the school in 1986 for her A levels and left in 1987, giving back to the school is not just a gesture of generosity but an obligation that should be embraced by all Kenyans, regardless of social status.