Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lunapads One4Her Distribution: Judy, John, and Helen in Africa - Day 2

From Judy:

No, you didn't miss a post on Day 1. We had a wonderful first day in Kenya, and we'll tell you more about that later. But before that, we MUST tell you about the incredible day we had on Saturday, July 6 at the Lunapads One4Her Distribution.

One4Her donates sanitary pads to Kibera school girls
First, the background: Eliminate Poverty NOW has provided access to sanitary pads since we started. Many girls in Africa lack access to sanitary pads. They may miss a week of school a month, increasing the likelihood that they will drop out. But girls who stay in school tend to marry later, have fewer children, a lower risk of HIV, and a much higher lifetime income. 

Kibera school girl at One4Her distribution

As we've told you on earlier occasions, Lunapads - and its founder, Madeline Shaw - have been extremely generous to Eliminate Poverty NOW. And not just to us - they established One4Her so that their customers could  help girls in Africa receive sanitary pads. It's a fantastic program. As their website explains:

For every One4Her purchase you make, Lunapads will provide a girl in need with a Uganda-made AFRIpad to support her education. 

We contacted Lunapads to see whether the girls in the Kibera slum in Nairobi could be beneficiaries of the One4Her program. Madeline Shaw asked whether there were 2,000 girls who needed pads! Two thousand is a big number - our largest previous distribution had been 200 girls. So we asked Lilly - founder and director of Little Rock ECD Center, our partner in Kibera - and Lilly said, "Absolutely! We welcome the opportunity to transform so many lives."

Kibera girls in line at One4Her distribution

Kibera school girls receiving kits of sanitary pads
The pads were produced at AFRIpads, a small, but growing, business in Uganda employing 60 local women. AFRIpads delivered 2,000 kits (the pads come in a sack with a small purse pouch) while Eliminate Poverty NOW added a bucket, mesh drying bag, and underpants, since many girls don't have those either.

Teacher Evelyne explains care of AFRIpads

We arrived in time for the first distribution day at Little Rock. Lilly and her staff selected 2,000 school girls to receive the kits. On the first day, 300 girls came from primary schools, secondary schools, and girls' groups, including Little Rock's own girls' group. All of them are enrolled in programs that provide sex education, HIV sensitization, gender empowerment, hygeine, etc. There were 6 training sessions, each with about 50 girls. 

The girls were interested, attentive, and VERY grateful for the opportunity these pads give them to stay in school. They asked telling questions. My favorite? Teacher Evelyne explained the importance of drying the pads fully in the mesh bag on the clothesline, to avoid infection. One girl (a 6th grader) asked, "Will I be able to dry them in boarding school?"

Kibera girls learning about AFRIpads
This question is special because this girl clearly assumed she would go to a good secondary school, all of which are boarding schools. She would obviously be the first in her family to do so, since she did not realize that there would be clotheslines at the boarding schools. What an opportunity Lunapads gave us to help this girl - and the other 1,999 - to achieve their life's dreams.


A professional video of the distribution is being produced, but for now you can see what this special day was like in John's beautiful photos. 


  1. This is so cool. Every girl that is helped here, opens the door for more girls in the future. Keep up the great work!

  2. Dear Judy and John - you are really making a difference in peoples' lives. May God bless you and give you the strength and ability to keep doing what you do (and to do more, of course!)

  3. We've had a couple nice responses through email, too (shared here with permission).

    From Yitzchak:

    "Thank you for the enriching material prepared by Judy. Such a project will surely have a lasting impact on the community as a whole and specifically on the women and young girls. May you continue in your humane endeavours."

    And from Nancy:

    "Loved it all! Thanks for all you do at EPN!"

  4. Another lovely comment we received:

    "Judy and John - You can be very proud of what you are doing in Africa. Eliminate Poverty Now
    is proving very successful and you are accomplishing a great deal. I admire your foresight, guts and hard work.