alexa US lobby to donate pads amid uproar over Bomet girl's suicide - Daily Nation

US lobby to donate pads amid uproar over Bomet girl's suicide

Thursday September 12 2019

Sanitary towels

A file photo of sanitary pads and tampons. The UN estimates that as many as 20,000,000 girls drop out of school every year because they cannot deal with their menstrual flows. PHOTO | COURTESY 

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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A US-based lobby has announced it will distribute reusable sanitary towels to 1,000 Kenyan girls following the death by suicide of a class six pupil from Bomet County who was ridiculed over menstruation.

One Dollar For Life (ODFL), a non-profit organisation, will distribute the menstrual kits to adolescent girls through its Girls’ Equality Project (GEP). 

The organisation made the announcement following news that a 14-year-old girl committed suicide after her teacher allegedly ridiculed her when she menstruated and stained her dress in class.

Jackline Chepng'eno attended Kabiangek Primary School in Konoin constituency, Bomet County.

The needy 14-year old took her life on September 6, shortly after narrating her ordeal to her parents at Chemelet village.

NO COST

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Brenda Birrell, the programme director, noted that the Girls' Equality Project provides washable, reusable sanitary supplies to teenage girls in developing countries. 

"The kits cost Sh500 ($5), but are provided at no cost to the girls,” she said in a statement.

“To help a girl stay in school for three years, at a cost of Sh500, may be one of the greatest investments in human potential on the planet."

She added that the ODFL had already distributed thousands of menstrual kits in Kenya and other developing countries around the world, including South Africa, Zambia and Nepal. 

HUGE RISKS

The United Nations estimates that as many as 20 million girls drop out of schools across the world every year because they cannot deal with their menstrual flows.

While not as dramatic as the suicide of the Bomet girl, the effects are extremely damaging. 

“If a girl drops out of school at 13, her options are grim,” said Birrell.  “She can work in the fields, she can become a child bride, or she can be sold into the sex trade. In many cases, she faces relentless sexual predation that scars her for life.” 

Kiini Sustainable Initiative, which partners with the US lobby, says although they can't bring the girl back to life, they hope that by helping a thousand other girls, they can ensure her death was not in vain