Impact Stories

Helping more than 13,000 girls in Kenya with reusable pad kits since March 2021

Since our project launched on 8 March 2021, we have distributed reusable pad kits to more than 13,000 girls and educated more than 20,000 boys and girls on menstruation, menstrual health management, infections and sexual and reproductive rights.

Receiving one of these pad kits totally transforms a poor girl’s life, preventing shaming in school, school dropouts due to poverty and sex for pads. Girls are able to continue their education in dignity and pride and this reduces teenage pregnancies and infections as well.

In 2023, we surveyed 3,133 girls who received the pad kits and used them for more than 3 months. The results are astounding:

  • 95% of the girls used the pad kits every time they had their period
  • 99% of the girls have not missed school since receiving the kits, and 100% have not missed exams
  • 76% used all the pads in the kit 
  • 100% of the girls did not experience any teasing in school after receiving the kits.
  • 94% of the girls said that the pads were comfortable and 77% said that they suffered less cramps when using these pads.

All the girls said that getting the pad kits saved them money and that the pads did not cause any rashes. These are very difficult times in Kenya, with the economy taking a nose-dive and lots of protests and demonstrations by the public as the cost of living has skyrocketed.

This simple act of helping girls save money on disposable pads makes a huge difference and also stops them from wearing rags and mattresses that are unhygienic and spread infections. It also stops the girls from having to resort to offering sex for pads, which was happening at least two of the schools that we helped, given the teachers’ comments.

The teachers’ comments also highlight these additional benefits:

  • Increase in academic performance and confidence.
  • Increase in confidence and comfort.
  • Girls are no longer having to resort to sex for pads.
  • Girls are no longer missing school or exams due to periods.
  • The environment in the school got better and there is less blockage of the latrines because of the disposable pads.
  • The surrounding environment also improved as disposable pads were not being thrown away around the school (there is a lack of garbage collection facilities in poor areas).
  • Teachers are no longer having to use their own money to buy pads for the girls who can’t afford them.
  • Girls are no longer wearing unhygienic materials to school when they have their periods.

Helping Grandma F and Her Family in Kakamega

We starting helping Grandma F’s family of six in May 2020. Grandma’s legs were in a very bad condition, most likely due to elephantiasis. One son ha polio and cannot walk- he has to drag himself around. Grandma’s house was also about to collapse. They were very hungry when we found them, as the only breadwinner (another son) only earned 200/- (£1.33) on a good day as a manual labourer IF he got work.

They also got jiggers frequently. These are small insects that burrow into feet and multiply, causing intense itching and pain, rotting away the feet. They are partly caused by mud floors and poor hygiene.

We built the family a new house and kitchen with a cement floor. Their old house collapsed soon afterwards so the assistance was very timely. We also repaired the breadwinner’s iron sheet roof as it was leaking and treated the family for jiggers. We took Grandma for medical treatment in Kakamega town. Her legs have improved, and she can now walk a little although the existing damage will not heal completely.

We have also helped the family with monthly food and hygiene items, bedding, clothing, school uniforms and school items, reusable pad kits, solar lamps and toys. We provided maize and vegetable seeds, banana stems and fertiliser for planting their own crops. We supported the disabled son with a shoe repair business that is slowly taking off.

They are very grateful for all our support as they used to struggle a lot to survive.

Fred, 6 years old, with kidney disease in Kakamega, Kenya

Fred (name changed) is a 6-year-old boy we are supporting in Kakamega, Kenya. He has nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disease that causes severe bodily swelling when it flares up. His mother abandoned him and his siblings after his father died. His grandmother was trying to raise 3 grandchildren on her own when we started helping them in January 2020.

Fred’s condition causes his body to swell uncontrollably, requiring hospital treatment. We discovered that Fred had needed hospital admission a few times prior to 2020. Shockingly, his grandmother had been made to sell her few possessions (a cow, two pigs and a tree) to pay for his treatment. She could not have afforded to take him to hospital again as she had NOTHING LEFT TO SELL, and would have had to watch him die in agony.

We admitted Fred to the public hospital in Kakamega twice in 2020. Each time he was put on high steroid doses that his body did not respond well to. Through local contacts, we arranged for private treatment at a specialist clinic in a nearby large town. We paid for several visits and a renal biopsy in November 2020, all funded by generous donors.

Following the biopsy, we got a proper diagnosis and a new treatment plan, which we confirmed via a second opinion. We are delighted that the new medicines are working. He looks so much better now- see photo on the left. It is sobering to think that he would probably not be with us if we had not helped him in time.

Fred will need long-term monitoring, regular (expensive) medication, diet management and regular testing of blood, urine and blood pressure, none of which his family can afford. We will continue supporting him and are very hopeful for his future.