Hey Girl, Imagine This...
To all the women reading this blog today, bare with me and imagine for just one minute that you are on your period and do not have access to feminine hygiene products, or you can’t afford them. What would you do?
When I went to Tanzania I was probably at the most awkward and insecure stage of adolescence, around twelve years old just about to turn thirteen. That age where you get your period for the first time. I don’t remember too much of the details preparing for the trip except for two. The first was that my mom was not looking forward to having her time of the month in Africa. The second was that I learned the school we were going to visit and work with didn’t have access to clean water. Out of these two problems that came about in the days leading up to our trip, I saw the school’s issue of not having clean water as unfathomable so I didn’t really understand mom’s frustration with mother nature because she could just get sanitary products while we were there and the bathrooms would be fine to use, right? So in the meantime I raised money from my volleyball team, classmates, local friends and family members to be able to donate a well to this school in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. This is where I learned how passionate I am about international human rights and service.
So back to my mom’s period, which I know you are dying to read more about. I remember going to a local store with her in the city of Dar es Salaam and searching everywhere for sanitary products while the sale clerks were following us around with great confusion, probably as to why two american women were casually by themselves perusing around the store. When we got to the checkout counter and handed the package of sanitary napkins to the woman checking us out, she turned the box around and around looking at it curiously as if it were a rarity...after a few seconds she asked us what they were for. This blew my mind. I began getting really flustered and asking my mom hundreds of questions (for days on end I’m sure). The first thing that came to my mind was how that lady managed her time of the month, then I began questioning whether the girls attending the school we donated the well to had access to products. Turns out, they didn’t. I learned that menstruation is so stigmatized in this region that girls often miss twenty percent of their school year, about five days every month, that was if they weren’t dropping out of school all together by the time they began menstruating. This statistic changed my life because I was face to face with the smiling school girls it was affecting. During their time of the month most women and girls are to stay home so that they don’t bleed through their school or work clothes if they aren’t using a rag or tree bark or some other kind of tool to keep from showing their bodies are menstruating. The lack of affordable and accessible sanitary products are slim to none in places like this. Something we take for granted every month is a rarity in other parts of the world.
Women are shamed for the most natural cycle possible that happens within our bodies. In today’s world it amazes me how far we have come in how many girls globally have the opportunity to attend school as equals. However the fact that many of them are having to drop out or miss twenty percent of their year to not offend or be humiliated by their male teachers and peers, isn’t a statistic that fits in with the modernizing global standards.This is where we come into the picture. By supporting She’s here, you are not only aiding to fund KiliPads for giving out free pads in school menstrual health management seminars, but also by rocking our brand name bracelet, you are spreading awareness to help keep girls in Tanzania in school. I want girls everywhere to have the opportunity to say they are here when their name is called out for attendance every morning, don’t you?
Stay tuned with She’s Here to see when our next order of bracelets arrive, could be a great Christmas present for someone inspiring in your life!
Peace and Love XO