Providing Relief for African Girls During that ‘Time of the Month’

When non-profit organization Femme International gave each girl at Ghona a pack of AFRIpads — reusable pads that last as long as eight hours and are effective for up to a year — it was a game changer, especially for girls from poorer backgrounds who were using old rugs as pads. In rural Tanzania, most women and girls on their period use “kanga,” layered pieces of thick, colorful fabric used for making traditional east African dresses. The stiff material gets wet quickly and often leads to urinary tract infections. Girls and women say they live in constant fear of bleeding through. There are no global statistics on how many girls miss school because of their periods, but anecdotal evidence shows that period absenteeism is common across much of the developing world. In Tanzania, 16% of girls say their periods keep them out of school, research by the Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network found. Girls are suffering fewer illnesses since using AFRIpads, made from absorbent, quick-drying fabric, that secures to underwear with snaps, Goodwine said. The school’s headmaster Peter Mushi said attendance has improved after the girls got AFRIpads. He doesn’t have precise figures, but said the effect was “noticeable.”SOURCE: CNN

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