YWCA Kenya have thanked YMCA Norfolk for their donation and support in recognition of World Menstrual Day 2019.
Young people and staff at YMCA Norfolk raised funds in the recent months through street collections and selling hand-made items created by YMCA Norfolk young people, in addition to the donations of YMCA Norfolk supporters.
A team of staff and young people visited Kenya last year, with the aim to build awareness of projects that both YMCA Norfolk and YWCA Kenya do, and to donate items to the sister organisation such as sanitary items and toiletries.
The two charities have maintained their strong relationship, and YMCA Norfolk wanted to continue supporting such an important issue that young girls and women face across Kenya surrounding their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The lack of access to sanitation facilities and affordable hygiene materials for use by adolescent girls and women at home, at school and at workplaces, affects their health, their potential to access education, employment, overall safety and quality of life as well as meaningful participation in the development of the country.
YWCA Kenya said: “This year as the world marks Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019, The YWCA had a “Safe Space” session with adolescents and young women living in the informal settlements of Kiambio. Families living within the slum survive on less than a dollar a day, food will therefore be prioritized over sanitary towels needed by girls and women.
“As a result many girls miss school days when they are on their period and others are forced to use unhygienic alternatives such as old pieces of cloth and sponge which end up being a breeding place for bacteria and the resultant infections which may or may not get medical attention due to the financial implications.
“YWCA Kenya, through a donation from the YMCA Norfolk and other young women from within the movement, organized a “Menstrual Celebration” for the girls and young women in Kiambio through the Nairobi Branch. Participating in the “Menstrual Celebration” were girls and young women between ages 10 -26 years with more than 70 in attendance.”
The ‘Menstrual Celebration’ took part in an informal setting to invite the participants to feel relaxed and comfortable. Different mentors were available to talk to the girls about sex and sexuality, also sharing their own stories on the importance of abstinence and giving the girls tips on how they can achieve this.
This was then followed by Dr. Sarah’s session (Masters student studying obstetrics and gynecology at Kenyatta National Hospital). She spoke to the girls on matters concerning menstrual hygiene including debunking myths surrounding secondary virginity, infections, abortion and relationships. She demonstrated to the younger girls 10- 11 years old, who had yet to start their period on how to handle a pad and dispose it.
The YWCA staff and members in attendance also took the opportunity to talk to the girls about “Being a Girl”, appreciating yourself, confidence and assertiveness and “Making your Voice Heard”.
The girls were also given an opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences. There was also time for fun and entertainment as well as distribution of gifts to mark the day. These included;
- Sunny Girl sanitary towels
- Body oil
- Chocolate éclairs
- Drinking Water
YWCA Kenya added: “Thank you YMCA Norfolk for your continued support to make a difference in the lives of many young people. Nothing is ever too small to make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face and heart. Much love and appreciation from YWCA Kenya. God Bless”