#VOA: “Ugandan Girls Make Reusable Sanitary Pads to Stay in School”

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Offering sanitary pads to schoolgirls is a controversial topic in Uganda.

In the course of the 2016 election marketing campaign, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni pledged to purchase sanitary towels for women in want. The federal government estimates that 30 % of Ugandan ladies from poor households miss college due to lack of sanitary towels.

However in February this 12 months, the primary woman, who can be the minister for training, advised parliament the federal government didn’t have sufficient funding for the president’s $four.four million initiative.

This angered Makerere College researcher Stella Nyanzi, who created Pads for Ladies Uganda on the social media website Fb to gather donations of sanitary towels. Quickly, nevertheless, she discovered herself in a police interrogation room accused of insulting the primary woman on-line.

“The interrogation was about four hours,” Nyanzi stated. “By the time I was out, my sister, who had my mobile phone number, said, ‘By the way, you are almost getting to your one million pads.’ The following day was Women’s Day and, surprisingly, we got one million sanitary pads within two days.”

Nyanzi continues to push the federal government to make sanitary pads for women a precedence. Public debate in regards to the topic continues, and the federal government just lately introduced that sanitary pads are actually to be bought freed from value-added tax.

Ladies on the Mother and father Care Toddler Academy, within the slum space of Makindye, have taken issues into their very own fingers.

In the back of the category, there are 4 stitching machines that college students use to make reusable sanitary towels. Massive items of pink material are laid on the desk as a few of the ladies fastidiously measure and reduce, then place a bit of cotton in between and sew with pins. Able to be sewn, it’s then handed onto the tailors, who embody 14-year-old Nantume Catherine.

“Oh, this hole, it’s used to put there cotton, that cotton to hold blood to not come out. You remove it, you throw and you wash it through this hole,” she stated.

Sarah Sanyu is the headmistress of the college.

“It was very, very difficult for these girls to stay in public without having these pads,” Sanyu stated, “so when we got this idea of making sanitary pads, we bought the materials for ourselves, then we got someone to come and teach us.”

The varsity additionally held a particular class to show the ladies about menstruation.

Some query the cleanliness of reusable pads, however well being officers guarantee VOA they’re protected if correctly washed with cleaning soap and water. Nevertheless, entry to scrub water just isn’t a assure in some components of Uganda.

So vital are sanitary pads to holding ladies at school that the U.N. Inhabitants Fund (UNFPA) has distributed 50,000 disposable pads in 14 districts of Uganda since November of 2015.

“It has been very difficult to keep girls in schools, especially in Karamoja, where they have to use leaves,” stated Dr. Edson Herbert Muhwezi, assistant consultant at UNFPA Uganda. “There are no rags to use, some of them even sit in the sun hoping to dry. They are kept there isolated, staying four days and nights in the bush. It’s really dehumanizing.”

Nyanzi says that’s unacceptable. She visits faculties to cross out the pads donated to her Fb group, urging the ladies to not let their circumstances maintain them down.

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