On Thursday, June 25th, WMI supervised the making of reusable menstrual pads (RUMPS) in Buyobo Primary School to help girls, most of whom cannot afford to buy disposable pads, and prevent them from staying home from school due to their menstrual cycle. Eighty-five girls in Primary 6 and 7 classes, ranging in age from twelve to fourteen years old attended, from both Buyobo Primary School and Buyobo Parents. The coordinators, WMI East Africa Finance Director, Melissa, and summer interns, Abby and Jing, prepared for several days before, cutting rolls of the material into the right shape for the girls to sew and make into their pads during the workshop.
When Melissa, Abby, and Jing arrived at the school in the afternoon, a crowd of students welcomed them and they set up in a large classroom. Soon dozens of girls were at work creating their pads while listening to Melissa and the Girls Group teacher, Susan, give a lesson on hygiene and their proper use. Abby and Jing assisted cutting the remaining materials and took shots for the video they were making about Girls Group, a WMI program that teaches girls about health and entrepreneurship, many of whose members took part in the workshop.
The girls were happy with the results and they each left with two pads; while they wear one, they can wash the other. Susan encouraged them to teach the other women in their families how to create the pads so they can better handle their periods and avoid just using old rags.
After the workshop, the interns interviewed Susan, several students in Girls Group, and the headmistress of Buyobo Primary School to ask them about their impressions of the impact of Girls Group and the pad workshop. They stressed the usefulness of the reusable pads in helping girls manage their periods and stay in school.
On July 9th, the interns, Melissa, Susan, and the coordinators held a second workshop for about forty local secondary school girls from Secondary 1 through 4, ranging in age from fourteen to eighteen years old. While teaching them to make their pads, Susan also spoke to them about family planning and the importance of staying in school. Several girls came to the front of the classroom as the workshop was ending to extend their appreciation for the workshop. Nafuna Kadija, a sixteen year old from Senior 2, expressed her thanks saying, “You have brought for us something which will help us. Some of us, we are lacking money to buy pads. We have been missing school lessons because of menstruation. Thank you very much for what you have done for us.”
Given the success of the workshops for girls and the effectiveness of the RUMPS as a cheaper alternative to already-made pads, a third workshop, this time for interested WMI borrowers, will be held in the near future.