The attendance in school and the grades have increased immensely among the female students participating in Dandelion Africas’ programs. We met up with Triza and Shanel, two fourteen-year-old girls that are part of the Let it Flow program. We wanted to learn about what Let it Flow means to them.
Let it Flow aims to give all the girls in the program reusable pads instead of disposable ones. A prototype of the pad has been given out to a test group, the participants of the Girls for Leaders program, which both Triza and Shanel* are a part of.
“Now that I have pads I always go to school. Before I missed school, but not anymore. I can be in school and be with my friends.” – Shanel
Shanel lives with her father and found it embarrassing to ask for pads and could not speak about menstruation with him. Shanel was forced to use pieces of cloths when she was out of pads. She was uncomfortable going to school whilst having her period in fear of being embarrassed in front of the other students. She felt like staying at home was her only option.
Triza explains that she would not afford to get a sufficient amount of pads on her own. Thanks to Let it Flow she has never experienced a lack of pads.
When we asked the girls which one they preferred, they both quickly picked the reusable ones. With the washable ones they don’t have to worry about ever being out of pads.
The girls also explained to us how the program has affected their lives socially. They feel that talking about sensitive subjects such as menstruation in a group has brought them closer to one another.
”Now I can speak about these issues with my friends, something I did not dare to before the program.” – Shanel
Not having to worry about sanitary pads has increased the girls attendance in school. This works hand in hand with the Dandelion Africa project Girls for Leaders, which encourages the girls and supports them in their education, and these girls grades have increased remarkably.
On an exam taken at the beginning of the program by the girls they scored an average of 33,4%, this June they scored an average of 70%.
* Because of the taboo of talking about menstruation we have altered the girls’ names.