To this day, there is still a stigma surrounding menstruation, which is one of the causes of school drop-outs among girl- children. Reports indicate that 60 percent of school-going girls miss studies due to fear of stigmatization from fellow pupils and teachers.
The situation is made worse by the lack of menstrual hygiene incentives like sanitary pads and nickers, which are very expensive for most girls in rural Uganda.
Speaking about menstrual hygiene for girls in rural areas, Senfuma Nabuule Sandrah, the Executive Director of African Empowerment Hub during the Groove with Crystal said the government and other charity organizations ran to the rescue of people during the famine but not sanitary towels, which are a necessity.
“I was one of those people who thought every girl should have a nicker, but we forget that in some homes, the cost of a nicker can feed the family,” she said.
“One day, I went to a school to donate pads, and the teachers told me the girls did not have underwear to dress the pads on. I thought they were kidding until I saw a girl whose flower was out there as she was fetching water from a borehole, and I got to see. It was the same for most of the other girls, and that is when I introduced the nickers to the package,” she said.
The African Empowerment Hub provides a kit to girls in underprivileged societies containing three reusable sanitary towels and three nickers. “When we can afford, sometimes we include toothpaste and soap to help the girls with their hygiene,” Sandra said.
The former banker said she resigned from the corporate sector because she found her passion in being around and helping children.
The Hub sensitizes girls on menstrual health management, including hygiene, sexual reproductive health, and the rights of girls and boys in different communities.
“We teach people how to use sanitary towels. We talk to mothers too. In Mbale, we started a SACCO to help women save. We are not limited to particular regions. We have been to Gulu, Karamoja, Kihihi, and many others,” she said.
Mrs. Senfuma is a “slay” farmer at Tereka Mixed farm and an alumnus at the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative.
The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5 pm on RX Radio.
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