By LUCY ORMONDE
A 14-year-old girl in Australia is getting ready for school.
She has a shower, dries herself off with the not-so-fluffy towel, and puts on her school uniform. As she stands in the bathroom fixing her hair, she reaches into the cabinet and pulls out a tin of tampons. She places the tin in her school bag, goes downstairs, finishes her bowl of cereal and then runs along to start her day.
Nothing standout about that situation, right?
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Moxie. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Well, compare the story of that young girl to the story of a 14-year-old girl living in Uganda. On the same day, in a different country, this girl also has her period and is due at school in the morning. But the difference here is that when this young girl gets her monthly period, she doesn’t have access to disposable pads and tampons like girls in first world countries do.
Feminine hygiene in developing countries is very different to here in Australia. Pads and tampons as we know them are just too expensive.
Instead this young girl uses leaves, newspaper, old rags or toilet paper. It’s hardly a solution but it’s all she can do. And if that’s not terrible enough, chances are that this girl will have to skip up to five days of school every month because she’s too ashamed and uncomfortable that her home-made pad might leak or fall out during her day.
In some third world countries like Uganda, where 80 per cent of the population live in rural areas, young girls are missing up to 20 per cent of the school year because they don’t have access to pads and tampons. Some of these girls will miss so much school they’ll fall behind. In a worst case scenario, they might have to drop out.
It’s hard to believe that this is all because they can’t afford adequate female hygiene products.
What can we do to help the women of Uganda?
I’m so glad you asked.
The good news is that there is simple way that each and every one of us can help; and it’s as easy as going to the supermarket and picking up a packet of pads.
Australian feminine hygiene brand Moxie (you might know them as the company that makes tampons in a tin) have recently teamed up with AFRIpads – an organisation based in Uganda that make and distribute low-cost cloth washable sanitary pads. The pads are given to young girls living in rural areas who might otherwise not have access to adequate sanitary products. Each ‘Deluxe Menstrual Kit’ donated will last each girl one year.
Moxie has made a promise. For every packet of Moxie Slenders Liners, Slenders Pads and Sleepovers Pads that is sold in Australia, they’re going to provide the equivalent amount of reusable pads to school girls in Uganda.
And that’s something that’s worth celebrating.
It means young girls in Uganda won’t need to skip school anymore because they have their period; they won’t have to worry that their homemade pads will leak during class or that they’ll fall out if they’re playing sport outside.
The other amazing thing about this initiative is that it will provide jobs. The more pads that AFRIpads produce, the more women they’ll employ in local factories to create them, which also allows them to send their own kids to school, as well as open bank accounts and save for the future. It’s a win-win really.
In Australia, it’s easy for us to take access to everyday items like tampons and pads for granted. When we get our periods each month, we walk the seven or so steps to the bathroom and pull out a tin from the cabinet. On a bad day, we might have ask a colleague if we can borrow some or, at worst, we may have to jump in the car and drive to the corner store or the supermarket to pick some up.
So the next time that’s you, the next time you’re standing in the aisle thinking about what brand to buy, stop and think about how you can make a difference.
Because you can.
Millions of girls living in developing countries, like Uganda, miss up to 20 per cent of the school year because they don’t have access to adequate feminine hygiene products to help them manage their periods whilst they are at school.
There’s one more thing you can do: Please share this post, and help raise awareness for women in Uganda.
Moxie wants to put a stop to these high rates of absenteeism to give girls a better chance to complete their schooling – so they’ve teamed up with AFRIpads (afripads.com), a social organisation based in Uganda, which facilitates the manufacture and distribution of low cost, reusable, cloth sanitary pads. The pads are made locally by Ugandan women, allowing them to generate an income to also help send their own kids to school.
Providing reusable pads is more sustainable in the Ugandan environment where there are no adequate, sanitised means of disposal; hence each girl is provided with a “Deluxe Menstrual Kit” of washable sanitary pads that will last her for one year.
For every packet of Moxie Slenders Liners, Slenders Pads and Sleepovers Pads sold in Australia during this project, Moxie will send the equivalent amount of locally made, re-usable pads to Ugandan school girls.
By buying Moxie pads, you are personally contributing to young Ugandan women getting the education they deserve.
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