Support Huru International- They Give Young Women the Chance to Get Ahead
Huru provides girls in Kenya with vital sanitary products so they can attend class all month long.
Let’s face it: many of us aren’t too fond of our periods. The bloating, cramping, and intense chocolate cravings that go with the weeklong flow… not so fun. But did you ever miss up to five days of school per month because you were too embarrassed to leave your home in “pads” created from germ-ridden materials picked out of the trash?
Well, according to a 2010 Oxford University study, this is a regular occurrence for girls in rural Kenya who haven’t ever used the pads we throw into our carts without a second thought during that time of the month. And the consequences are serious for these young women in need.
“Using unhygienic materials carries a risk of infection; this is especially relevant since girls are generally not using clean materials,” Lorna Macleod, the executive director of Huru International, told us. “Instead, they use cast-off materials, which are generally unclean, and include bits of mattress, scraps of old cloth, and even compacted cow dung. Alongside the health risks, many of the girls cite the fact that substitute materials carry a risk of humiliation, which forces them to stay home even when using them. This is because the materials are generally just placed in the underwear unsecured and can easily fall out.”
To aid young girls and women who have fallen victim to societal taboos surrounding the female body and a severe lack of resources, Huru International works to deliver life-changing kits to girls in need.
The organization, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower girls by providing them with necessary feminine products, has already reached approximately 20,000 Kenyan girls who would otherwise have neither sanitary pads nor underwear.
But the issue runs deeper than girls not having the resources to purchase these products: many of them are completely unaware of what a period is, which sounds utterly shocking to us, but commonplace in a society where Macleod reports that programs for girls will see merely two cents out of every dollar given to development initiatives.
“Many of the girls have described their first period as a wholly unexpected and terrifying experience,” Macleod explained. “They didn’t know what to expect, or what was happening, because nobody had ever told them. One reason for this is that menstruation remains a taboo topic in many areas. Also, a large number of the girls with whom Huru works are one- or two-parent orphans, and those who live with their fathers or relatives are often too embarrassed to ask questions about menstruation.”
According to Macleod, Huru’s kits have already created astronomical changes: not only are girls who received them 95% more likely to attend school every day, but 85% of girls also improve academically as a result of being noticed and valued.
Besides holding an array of feminine products, each package contains crucial informational pamphlets about HIV/AIDS –which continue to be scant, especially in rural areas.
“Quality HIV education is among the most direct and effective prevention tools there is,” Macleod said. “Even where girls are receiving school-based education, reinforcement is essential. There’s a good deal of regional variation, as well, as HIV education is generally weakest in rural areas.”
So what can women like us do to better the lives of impoverished girls? For starters, with a $25 donation, you can supply one girl with pads, underwear, and HIV/AIDS prevention materials for an entire year. To make a donation, visit Huru’s website.
Even if you’re on a strict budget (and these days, who isn’t?), all you need is a Facebook account and less than a minute to spare to participate in this worthy campaign. Simply head over to the o.b. Brand’s Facebook page and hit the “Like” button. Then, after you share a message about Huru International’s cause with your friends via the o.b. Outreach tab, the company will donate $1 to Huru.
No matter what, the o.b. Brand has promised to send Huru $10,000 to help Kenyan girls, but with your help, that amount can reach a whopping $25,000!
So, now’s the time to quit Facebook stalking your ex and take a stand for women’s health. Because those little girls in Kenya are relying on every single one of us.
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential. She used the o.b. Outreach tab to share Huru’s cause with her Facebook friends.