Lack of menstrual kits affect girlchild education- NGO

Lack of menstrual kits affect girlchild education- NGO
Faidah Mary Akutien Yor, Co-founder of Caring Hearts Initiative for Community Development (photo credit: Alex Bullen,/ The City Review)

Schoolgirls continue to grapple with the challenge of skipping classes due to the inaccessibility of sanitary pads, especially when on menstruation.

The Co-founder of the Caring Hearts Initiative for Community Development (CARHICOD), Faidah Mary Akutien Yor, has said that over 40 percent of schoolgirls in the country often miss classes when they are on menstrual period due to the lack of sanitary pads.

“The lack of menstrual kits have made it difficult for many vulnerable school girls in the country to drive their studies successfully, hence, it has led to poor performance,” Yor disclosed.

She said there was a need for the government and partners to come together to advocate for the rights of these girls.

“We found that it was a big challenge towards girls’ education, if it is not addressed, the challenge may continue to face schools hence high school dropout rate in the country from girls,” she stressed.

She was speaking to The City Review on their ongoing four months campaign named “KEEP A GIRL IN SCHOOL”.

The campaign advocates for the rights of the girls who are not able to access menstrual kits especially during this uncertain period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Yor revealed that since June 2021, CARHICOD has recorded 40 percent of girls who used to miss classes at every end of the month.

“We started the survey in June till now [and] we found out that at least, 50 girls [who] miss classes at every month. So, statistically, about 40 percent of the girls miss classes due to menstruation and its complications that they cannot afford to buy menstrual hygiene kits.

“That means at the end of the year over 500 girls will either repeat classes or miss going to school due to menstrual and its complication,’’ she lamented.

She said disadvantaged girls aged between 12 to 17 years from informal settlements of Juba, Yambio, Torit, and Bentiu.

 “We envisaged to provide these girls with two school term periods as well as a form of social support groups for learning and peer learning especially through sharing experience and storytelling and effective communication,” she added.

The situation is even worse for schoolgirls Torit, Eastern Equatoria State, who according to Yor have been using pieces of cloths instead of sanitary pads, which normally affects their health status.

She said due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many girls from the informal settlements of South Sudan are stuck at home with no access to sanitary kits and skills to make reusable pads.

 “Most of the government schools are far and the students (girls) moved from long distance when it comes time for menstruation it becomes difficult for them to go to school and attend class with colleagues.

“Apart from Juba, we did a similar survey we done in Torit Eastern Equatoria State and almost the same percentage of people told us that the same problem made girls miss classes,” she added.