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.
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.
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.