Educating girls about ‘unmentionables’

Some of the young ladiies who attend Kadaondong school SUS-180424-091826001
Some of the young ladiies who attend Kadaondong school SUS-180424-091826001

Back in the day the Victorians referred to underwear as ‘unmentionables’, but those days are long gone and the Rotary Club of Senlac’s Yellowmen are not so coy with the title of their latest fundraiser that’s set to help educate young girls in a region of Kenya, namely the Knickers Project.

Eddie McCall, Senlac Rotarian founder and organiser of the Yellowmen of Kadongdong (West Pokot, Kenya) says the slightly humorous title of this latest good work by the Yellowmen encompasses a very serious issue. “Over the past few years, teachers and nurses have promoted the education and welfare of girls,” he said. “In so doing, the life of some of our girls is becoming better understood and the problems they face a matter of concern.”

Inke and Wendy of the Education Team shopping in Lomut SUS-180424-105413001

Inke and Wendy of the Education Team shopping in Lomut SUS-180424-105413001

As part of a medical team initiative, Yellowmen nurses gave presentations on menstruation designed to educate girls in what was happening to their bodies and as a tool to get local teachers and medics to help change the lack of support for girls suffering from painful periods and lack of basic knowledge. A one month supply of sanitary towels were given to each girl attending. The presentation also looked at the ‘towels’ made and used by the girls themselves and the whole question of hygiene.

Eddie added: “In follow up talks with local nurses and teachers it transpired that the problem was even worse than expected. “There was a lack of sanitary towels that the girls could afford and they often couldn’t even afford sufficient pants to keep them supplied during their periods. Once this became apparent, Yellowmen ladies went into action and the Knickers Project was born.

“So far sufficient money has been raised to purchase 1,500 pairs of pants to be given to girls when they receive their free sanitary towels during the September 2018 Yellowmen visit.”

Eddie said many people might think this is a small situation to address but that’s not the case, adding: “Those girls who cannot afford sanitary towels or sufficient pants to last them through their periods will not attend school. So each month they miss between two and five days amounting to perhaps ten weeks throughout the year.

“The Yellowman’s target of purchasing 1,500 pairs of pants may not be sufficient but it’s a start that hopefully will grow as more money is collected. We can purchase one dozen pairs of knickers in Kenya for about £4, far less than the cost of carrying free knickers to Kenya by air.”

To help the Yellomen with their fundraising please send donations, made payable to the ‘Rotary Club of Senlac’ to: The Yellowmen Knickers Project c/o The Cottage, Crowhurst, Battle, East Sussex. TN33 9AS. Visit: www.senlacrotary.org.uk