In many cultures in Kenya, menstruation is not talked about. It can be seen as dirty or impure and the silence around it can lead to a lack of knowledge, which can generate damaging misconceptions. Many girls think that they are dying or have a horrible disease the first time they menstruate, as the pain and blood causes confusion and worry.
“I remember when I first got my period” Kanini recalls. It was during the school days and I was in class. I was only 13yrs, I was terrified and thought that my intestine must have burst as I was feeling such pains in my abdomen. My stomach was aching and I was crying and screaming in the classroom and washroom. My class teacher came to my rescue. She told me that what I was experiencing was normal. “you’re becoming a woman” she told me, as she rushed to open a pack of sanitary towel and handed it to me. We then spent the next few hours talking as she gave me the down low on things like how to wear a pad, how to maintain hygiene, how to deal with leakage, and how to handle the cramps.
While it’s a pretty ideal scenario for most girls – to have a supportive figure around to help them navigate their first period – it is unfortunately very uncommon for many girls. At Macheo we sensitize both girls and boys through Reproductive health interventions which aims at educating vulnerable teenage girls about their bodies, their health, the irregularity about menstrual cycles and the use of the sanitary towels. This is accompanied by the distribution of sanitary pads and pants to assist girls during menstruation.
We are so grateful to our partners for their continued support.