This organization, and this sanitary pads project, comes as a result of many years of working with girls in Kenya, seeing problems, and searching for solutions. And it comes from living in Kenya for more than seven years now, and revising the way I see the world in light of new information and new experiences.
When I worked for five years with former street children, our organization’s biggest costs per child were bread and sanitary pads. I realized this was a national problem, that girls across the country went through horrible things during their periods.
This to me was a question of social justice. The poverty that mires 64% of Kenyans is unjust. To allow girls and their future families to sink further into poverty because they lack the funds necessary to stem the flow of their monthly menstruation and sit out of school four days a month—I cannot be the person who knows but remains on the sidelines. I believe the words of my high school mentor, Denise Fuller, who said, “the easiest words for someone to say are ‘I don’t know’. Because, once we know, we are required to do something.”