By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
If you were absent for almost 20 percent of middle school, how do you think you would have done in class?
I'd guess you wouldn't have done too well. Me neither.
But for girls in Mali, this is a sad reality. Without any tools to manage their periods, girls end up staying home from school. Over the course of middle school, they can miss four and half months of school. Girls fall behind in class and all too often fall right out of school. Girls who leave school before finishing ninth grade face poverty, early marriage, early pregnancy, and a lifetime of hardship.
In late 2016, Mali Rising launched a new, multi-faceted Girls Project focused on increasing girl enrollment in our schools and keeping girls in school and thriving. One key component of this project is educating girls about their menstrual cycle and providing tools to let them stay in school during their period.
A great team of volunteers in Utah make menstrual kits for girls, using the proven Days for Girls model. The kits are designed to last 3 years...exactly the time it takes to finish middle school!
In December, we delivered more than 100 kits to girls enrolled in our three Girls Project pilot villages. Our Girls Project Coordinator, Hindaty, educated the girls about their bodies and the kits. Like any teenage girl, our girls were slightly horrified but they asked great questions and were very eager to use the kits and stay in school.
The images below give you just a taste of the excitement and interest our girls brought to the kit delivery. Check out this video to hear from several girls who received kits in February 2016.
Want to get involved in making kits? You don't have to be a sewing expert -- we have jobs for everyone! Email Merritt for more information.