Teyeba is 14 years old and one day she hopes to be a lawyer. She wakes up at 5am every morning to do the chores so she can go to school along with her older brothers. One day, while Teyeba was up early, she noticed her period had started. She missed school that day.
When girls miss school due to a lack of period products, they fall behind. 5 out of 6 girls in Ethiopia drop out of school completely before the end of grade 7 (Year 9).
Stigma surrounding menstruation meant that Teyeba was ashamed to ask for help. The next day at school she bled through her uniform. For 6 months Teyeba tried to manage as best she could, but was anxious and felt ashamed. She was left to improvise with what materials she could find, often using leaves, grass or old rags.
Teyeba was lucky. She met Ayisha, a Menstrual Hygiene Management Ambassador at Studio Samuel, one of our girls’ education partners. Ayisha talked to her about menstruation and gave her a free reusable period pack so that she could go to school with dignity.
Studio Samuel’s project supports vulnerable girls to stay in school by distributing period packs, and through offering extra-curricular after school courses in IT and business skills, sewing, life skills and creative arts. Support is also given to access healthcare, tutoring and scholarships that they otherwise would miss out on.
Shortly afterwards, Teyeba enrolled on Studio Samuel’s after school course, where she learnt to design and sew reusable pads and now uses her story to encourage others. The period packs produced include pads, underwear, soap, and a discreet bag to carry everything in.
Teyeba’s confidence has soared. Not only has she been able to stay in school and develop important skills for future employment, Teyeba has also led presentations at other schools on how to use the period packs, encouraging both girls and boys to break the taboo.
Studio Samuel is just one of a number of our partners supporting girls to stay in school with confidence and dignity. We believe that girls shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed about a normal biological process. They certainly shouldn’t have to miss out on an education because of it.
Your support means girls like Teyeba can become confident, educated women. Thank you.