So proud of my friends Patrick and his wife Kevin! Just received this message ‘Guess what is going on here?’
Can any of us, female or male, imagine what it must be like for girls and women not to have sanitary products easily available and affordable, for their monthly cycle? Well for the majority of females in Uganda, and I imagine other 3rd World Countries, it is the norm! Instead they have to use old rags, dried leaves, grass or paper – school girls sometimes tearing pages from school books.
Menstruation can be a life-restricting monthly event for women & girls, and the reason that girls do not attend school during their period in Uganda and women find it extremely difficult in the workplace. Also when girls start missing school they are far more likely to be exposed to other risks such as early pregnancy and marriage, and contracting HIV/AIDS.
If you remember, on the last day in Uganda, on my way to Entebbe airport, I visited Patrick in Kampala, where he and Kevin have a project teaching ladies who have had little or no education, the basic 3R’s. They also learn skills that could help them earn a living such as hairdressing, tailoring, basic computer and the latest knitting (many of you donated wool and needles!).
Before I left the UK for my trip to Ugandan in February I had seen on the internet the idea of reusable sanitary pads and had spoken briefly to Brain Trust head teacher Charles who had confirmed all of the above. Primary schools in Uganda have classes up Year 7, pupils of 14 years and sometimes older so the problems were very familiar to him.
My daughter Nicola sent me the downloaded instructions of how to make disposable ‘feminine pads’ and I decided to speak to Patrick about it thinking his group could make some. I showed him the design, the pattern and instructions and he was really interested.
It was strange but very refreshing to listen to him discuss maybe what we would call a ‘ladies problem’ openly with the other lunch guests Innocent and taxi driver Charles, none showing any sign of embarrassment. The menstrual cycle is just another part of life in Uganda but one that causes millions of women and girls big problems. They have no money so buying sanitary towels is out of the question.
So I left the idea with Patrick and today the short message and photos were waiting for me. Brilliant! The last part of Patrick’s message read ‘It’s a good beginning, with time we will be perfect.’
I know quite a few people in Uganda but over the years the ones who impress me and therefore I stick with are those like Patrick who do their best with whatever they have. Of course as in all countries there are always people who sit and wait for handouts or take advantage, but fortunately the number has been few.
If any of you are sewers and you fancy making some ‘fempads’ I will happily take them out to Uganda next year. I’m sure ou can imagine how grateful girls and women will be to receive them!
The link is:
There are similar ones to view on the internet.