“I dropped out of school from class six. Education was not good because boys laughed at me when I spoiled my skirt with blood… I ask boys to give me money to buy cotton…Bad luck, you have to pay them with sex.” – Adhaimbo

The Problem: Girls who are forced to miss school have a higher risk of adult poverty and unemployment, sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS.

In Kenya, 40% of working adults earn less than $2 a day, all of which goes to basic necessities like food. Most families can’t afford sanitary pads so girls use unsanitary, infection-causing substitutes like bits of mattress filling, old clothes, or used pads found in the trash. Girls whose families can’t afford sanitary pads experience discomfort, anxiety and isolation. For days each month, they’re unable to go to school, play with friends, or even leave the house.

Every year in Kenya, 40,000 15 to 24-year-olds are newly infected with HIV. Girls are four times more likely to be HIV-positive than boys. The Global Campaign for Education estimates that allowing all children to complete their primary education would prevent 700,000 new HIV infections globally each year. For girls especially, missing school greatly increases their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and adult poverty.

Huru’s Solution: Keep at-risk girls in school

“Study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls and the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to…promote health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS.” – Kofi Annan

We provide hygienic, reusable sanitary pads to girls who are unable to afford them. Our Huru Kits are sustainably and locally produced, creating jobs in the girls’ communities. Each Huru Kit, which also includes life-saving HIV prevention information, keeps a girl from missing school during her period. At our distribution events, we foster community-building, educational advocacy, and HIV/AIDS awareness.

One teacher in Mukuru, Nairobi’s second largest slum, told us that attendance among her girls had been sporadic before Huru, but now it’s 100%! Many of our girls are planning to go to college, which seemed like an impossible dream in days when they missed so many lessons that they were unable to keep up with assignments or pass their exams.

“What we produce, it’s needed by the community, and by doing this we’ll help the community. And we’ll help ourselves, so it has a future.”
—Lillian, Huru Workshop Staff Member, Mukuru

The problems we’re addressing in Kenya exist worldwide. With help from our supporters, we plan to implement our programs beyond Kenya, bringing Huru to at-risk girls across sub-Saharan Africa. Soon, our mission will spread to Asia and beyond.

Our goal, with your help, is to give every girl the freedom she needs to get the education she deserves.