Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises education as a universal basic right for all humans. However there are multiple factors that work against girls’ education in The Gambia. Lack of sanitary products means that on average girls miss 48 days of school a year during their periods. In a typical poor Gambian family where there is not enough money to buy food, shelter and other basic needs sanitary products are not a priority. Many girls are forced to use paper, leaves or old bits of cloth. 1 in 10 girls miss school due to lack of sanitary products or sanitation facilities in schools. We believe that all girls deserve the right to adequate sanitary products.
Project Gambia is therefore seeking to address this issue. Working alongside other partners our aim is to help reverse the negative trend of girl’s education in The Gambia and remove many of the taboos and stigmas around menstruation.
We have agreed with our partners that our work should be:
- Sustainable: Although we will be donating some reusable sanitary pads wherever possible we will train the women to make the reusable pads themselves using locally sourced material.
- Educational: Girls have told us that they were scared and thought they were bleeding to death when they had their first period. We will education them about menstruation, what is it and what to expect.
- Environmentally friendly: The sanitary products we produce will be reusable and environmentally friendly.
We are currently trialling the work with some of the ladies in the Kotusilo community. In February with the support of Project Give Wolverhampton, education sessions were delivered and the ladies given a pack of reusable pads to test out for us! We will see how they got on in the next few weeks when we are back in The Gambia.
If you would like to know more about this work, support us or even make things for us (we are looking for people who can sew) please contact Bev Hodt: email@example.com