No girl should miss school. Period!
But in some areas of Vanuatu, 75% of girls are missing up to three days of school every month*.
That’s more than a month of their school days down the drain every year.
Too often, girls in remote villages can’t find or afford sanitary pads, and don’t have private toilets at school.
So girls stay at home, embarrassed and making do with rags or even leaves, which are unhygienic and unreliable. Girls like17-year-old Florence (below) explains: “In school, when the boys know we have our periods, they laugh or check our skirts when we get up from our chairs. So when I got my period, I did not go to school. I was afraid of being humiliated, so I just stayed at home.”
Those missed days add up and it’s easy for girls like Florence to fall behind. Many girls drop out, and many grow into women with less education, less opportunity, and less say in their communities.
With your help, CARE Australia can provide reusable pads and support to girls in Tanna, Vanuatu, to help them stay in school.
We need to raise $44,000 to help 560 girls across ten schools continue their education.
Each girl will receive a hygiene kit containing two pad holders to clip to her underpants, eight washable and reusable pad liners, two pairs of underwear, hand soap, laundry detergent and a bucket for washing her pads.
These reusable pads will provide peace of mind for girls, ensuring they can go to school every day rather than waiting at home for their period to end.
“I am not afraid anymore,” says Florence, who has already received her reusable pads and training through CARE. “I feel like now I know everything… when I get my period, I am not worried.”
The pads are made by Mamma’s Laef – a Vanuatu social enterprise employing local women. So you’re not just supporting girls to go to school; you’re also helping women earn an income!
Education is vital to break the cycle of poverty.
CARE is always focused on education and sustainability, so the kits will be distributed with training booklets and health awareness classes. Girls will be taught about the changes happening to their bodies, and separate sessions for boys will help reduce the taboos and stigma around periods and puberty.
Cultural taboos that discourage girls and women from various activities, including cooking, during menstruation contribute to a general belief that periods are unclean.
In a male-dominated society, where women are routinely discriminated against, ensuring girls have the same opportunities as boys to go to school is an important building block for equality in the future, as well as today. And with your donation, we can help keep 560 girls in school all year round.
Help girls focus on their education, not menstruation!
Please donate now.
* Source: Oxfam local study