The story we encountered was difficult. A student named Yanza raised her hand and shared how an older man had solicited her friends for sex in exchange for the monthly supplies they needed for their periods. We heard this while presenting training in the Mathare school in Nairobi with Yvonne, a leader of Thrive (the Set Free Movement team in Kenya).
Yvonne explained more to our team after we left the school.
The girls see their parents struggling. Most have lost a job in the past couple of years and are living hand to mouth. The students see the dire situation for the family and want to help. As awful as it sounds, it can be tempting to try to obtain pads when men approach them this way so they can stay in school and help their families. Even if it’s a month when the parents can afford supplies, there is so much anxiety about what the future holds. What will next month be like?
Yvonne continued, “I love this partnership between Wunders, ICCM, the Set Free Movement and Thrive. Wunders kits are the tool to take care of this problem. I always feel so great when we present the training and kits. I picture myself in their shoes and see them having a future now.”
Yanza’s story and stories like hers can be difficult to understand, especially when menstrual health supplies are such an obvious need. Despite the realities girls go through due to period poverty, there is hope.
A Wunders kit will last at least two to three years. For 24-36 months, a girl doesn’t have to worry about finding menstrual health supplies or how her family will afford them.
Over the last few months, we received feedback and thank you notes from some of the girls in ICCM schools who have received kits. We are encouraged to know the kits are making a tangible difference in their lives. Each time we distribute kits, we have the distinct privilege of letting young women know they are made in the Image of God and are valued and beloved. Our curriculum also includes culturally specific human-trafficking prevention training. What an honor for us to come alongside these young women in Kenya!
Rachel Kinley is the product developer for Wunders, and Emily Hlavka Freed is the interim director of Wunders
Photos: Nicole Kennelly