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Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Keep Girls in School

Did you know that right now, somewhere in the world, a little girl who is menstruating is protecting herself with whatever cloth she can find lying around, washing and hiding the cloth (which stays damp due to the climate), and then reusing the unsanitary cloth over and over each time she menstruates?  

Many factors in the developing world prevent people from getting an education. Lack of money to pay for school is a well-known problem. In some countries, it is not yet seen as custom for females to be educated, so they are discouraged from going to school. However, in other countries such as Kenya, the only thing holding many girls back from going to school is the lack of a product that females in the developed world take for granted—sanitary pads.

When thinking about the hardships that hold poor people back from getting a good educations, this is one issue that never came to my mind until one day, when I heard about a non-profit organization dedicated to distributing sanitary pads to young girls in Nairobi. Without sanitary pads, many girls cannot go to school due to unreliable and uncomfortable protection, in addition to infection from unsanitary protection. Also, schools may not have private toilet facilities, soap, or water for the girls to use. As a result, many young girls miss school for a week each month and fall behind, while others drop out altogether.

Menstruation is often not talked about, even between mothers and daughters, since it is seen as a taboo topic. Thus, young girls do not get educated about menstruation or hygiene. Simultaneously, I don’t think that we are being educated enough about these little issues holding people back in developing countries. Sanitary protection is something that females in the developed world take for granted, but for the girls I’ve spoken about, sanitary protection can actually determine whether or not they get to grow up with an education. Just something to think about.

GlassFrog blogger, Sherisse

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