Uganda 2012 Thank you!

In December of 2011 we asked for support from friends, customers and members of the community to provide 300 girls with AFRIpads kits as part of our Uganda 2012 trip. We are thrilled to report that thanks to your generosity, 350 kits were distributed near Jinja, Uganda on May 17!

What is particularly special to us about this distribution is that it was done via AFRIpads. As regular readers know, there is a longstanding mutual business crush going on between Lunapads and AFRIpads: this is the first time that we have worked directly with them. For all that we have been deeply proud to make and send Pads4Girls around the world from our factory here in Vancouver, it feels especially amazing that these pads were made right in Uganda: not only did 350 girls get life changing AFRIpad kits, but furthermore, 50 women have jobs making them.

Check out this amazing roster of progressive businesses who sponsored us, and please consider supporting them with your dollars!

Earth Mama Angel Baby, Boba Family, Red Tent SistersMoon Mysteries, Modo, Dream Designs, St. Geneve, Dermalogica, Little Jots, Gogo Bags, Fairware, Fluid Creative, Sugar Box, Natural Pod, Hip Baby, Claudia Alan, BunchaFarmers, Wysi Wipe, Wildwoman Enchanted, Hathor Body, DivaCup, Cocoa Nymph, Hollyhock, Libre Tea, Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear, A Juicy Life, Bunky Bambino, Quench Designs, Nicole Bridger, Maple Organics, My Baby Experts, Red Moon Designs, Raspberry Kids, Zazubean, Bamboobino, AppleCheeks, Krista’s Cups, Bandidas Taqueria, Rockin’ Green Soap, Raised Eyebrow Web Studio and Halfmoon Yoga.

Read on for the official report from AFRIpads

Lunapads and Mothering Magazine donate pads in Jinja
Thursday the 17th of May, the AFRIpads team went to Jinja to donate 350 pads on behalf of Lunapads and Mothering Magazine. Jinja is the second largest town in Uganda, and is near to the source of the Nile River. For this donation we visited two schools in the rural area surrounding Jinja town. We went together with Jasmine from Isackids (Initiative Save African Children), to educate the girls about menstrual hygiene issues and sexual and reproductive health.

The first school we visited was called the Buwenda Primary School. All the girls who would be receiving the pads were gathered in one class room. Jasmine was the first one to speak to the girls, and her introduction of the issues she wanted to discuss resulted in some uncomfortable giggles, as always. In Uganda, menstruation is not an issue to discuss in public, so to actually get a presentation about it at school is very rare. The girls are not even educated about it by their own mothers, but often need to ask their aunt for help when they have their menstruation for the first time.

Jasmine told the girls how to handle themselves during their period, and how to stay hygienic. The girls listened with great interest, as Jasmine gave them information which some of them never received before.

After this presentation, Phionah from AFRIpads addressed the girls. She introduced AFRIpads to them, and showed them how to use, wash and re-use the pads. This caused some giggling again, especially when Phionah pulled out her demonstration knickers, to show the girls how to wrap the holding unit around the knickers. After this, Phionah asked one of the girls to come in front of the class to repeat the demonstration on how to use the pads. After some hesitance there were a few volunteers, and Phionah picked one girl to give the demonstration.

After the demonstration Phionah informed the girls that each of them would get a free AFRIpads kit, and the girls started screaming and clapping out of joy. The girls all recognized the advantages of washable pads. Not only is there the cost advantage, but there’s also the comfort of knowing that from now on they don’t need to worry about pads for the rest of the year.

This means a big difference for many of the girls, since they don’t have the money for disposable pads and are therefore using pieces of cloth at the moment, which are simply not absorbent enough. The girls are afraid they will show leakages when they have to write something on the board, and often skip school during their menstruation as a result. Therefore a big thank you to Lunapads and Mothering Magazine, on behalf of the girls at Buwenda Primary School!

After this donation the AFRIpads team went to the other school, the Budondo Secondary School. The head master of the school was very happy to receive us, and the female teachers gathered all the girls from the first three classes outside in the shade of some trees. Jasmine gave her presentation again, which was very well received though the topic remains to be very sensitive, no matter the age of the girls. But they all listened carefully to Jasmine and her presentation, and afterwards we talked to some girls who told us they actually learned a lot from Jasmine, since she was covering some topics they had never discussed before.

After Jasmine’s presentation, Phionah introduced AFRIpads and explained to the girls how to use the pads. The girls responded with great enthusiasm, as they had the same problem as the girls in Buwenda. They were now using pieces of cloth during their menstruation, which makes them feel uncomfortable. All the girls saw the advantages of AFRIpads, so they were very happy to receive a free kit each! We left a training manual on how to use and wash the pads with the female teachers, just like we did at Buwenda School, in case the girls remained with any questions. The teachers were also very happy with this solution, since they acknowledge the problem with girls staying at home during their menstruation.

After a busy day, the AFRIpads team was able to donate 175 kits to the Buwenda Primary School and 175 kits to the Budondo Secondary School, thanks to Lunapads and Mothering Magazine. This donation will enable these girls from now on to go to school every day of the month!

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