Period poverty

Period pads need or want

That day I had fifty shillings only in my life. And my Period came knocking(The struggle after finishing school with no job). “Between supper or pads, what do you choose?” I asked myself. Having used a piece of the blanket before, the experience wasn’t nice. And I didn’t want history to repeat itself. So I opted to buy pads. 

Normally, I use two packets of pads through my period but this time I bought one. I had to be smart. I used one pad during the day, another at night for five days. It was horrible. My vagina prickled like never before. I survived through it and that’s what matters.

I am a customer service agent at a social enterprise organization that provides solar services and products to people in marginalized areas. A part of my job is to remind these people to make their daily payments to get light for the day. Every day more than ten women complain of financial constraints. “Sina pesa sina hata 10 bob,hii corona imefanya pesa ikapotea”, they say. Mark you, the daily rate for the solars is 55/=. These women are left with prioritizing what’s more important. Is it food, or lighting, or pads? If you are a mother of four children what would you go for?  Your kids need to eat, you don’t want them to stay in the dark at night and you too need pads to prevent period embarrassment. You are a mother, you got to be wise!

Period poverty doesn’t affect only girls, it affects mothers too. They don’t just talk about it! Because they are providers and their daughters get the priority over them. In most cases, they sacrifice for their daughters and choose other ways of dealing with their own. Our mothers are naturally creative.

To what extent have you gone with period poverty? Did you have to use one pad the whole day as I did? Did you have to look for a rag to use? Did you have to use a piece of clothing? Did you have to use a piece of your blanket? Did you have to cut out a piece of your mattress? Or cotton, or your child’s pampers or paper towels or napkins or plastic bags or makeup pads, or cotton balls or socks or toilet paper? How was your experience?

We have to agree that pads are a basic need, not a want. You don’t choose it, it chooses you and you have to deal with it as it comes.

Weeks ago early pregnancy among teens was a sensational topic. It blew the internet with people pointing their fingers toward parents. Talking of their recklessness to teach their kids good morals. 

Some of these parents live from hand to mouth. Sometimes they get enough to feed their families or less. A teen who sees her parents struggle to put food on their table never bothers her parents with the extra expense like asking for money to buy pads. Instead, she helps them look for money.

Looking for money means looking for jobs with no certificates and in the process, they are obliged to sleep with men to get money for pads. In such a situation, she surrenders everything. “Do all you want,” she says, “It’s the money I want”. She doesn’t care whether he uses protection or not. Do you know what happens after that? She either gets pregnant or contracts an infection. 

Some young girls stay at home when on their periods, some sit on sand(gross). This predisposes the young girls to men who molest them. She is so vulnerable and full of self-pity. Anything said to them is definitely a YES even when it’s meant to ruin them. Before we make conclusions on why there are early pregnancy cases we should try to dig into its causes and triggers.

If you find yourself in a position to support mothers and young girls, please do support them. If you get the chance to talk to them, enlighten them on menstrual hygiene. We need to talk about these things, we need to normalize such talks.

TO the men: Your wife and daughter need pads every month. Please remember that!

We are soon starting a pads drive. Be on the lookout and support when you can!

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