Somalia: sanitary pads project gives girls a boost

Earning about US$ 150 a month, 60 girls  aged between 16 and 22, are manufacturing sanitary pads for women living in refugee camps in Galkayo, central Somalia, IRIN reports.

The girls are enrolled at the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD) and the sanitary pad project, which started in 2009,  is supported by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, UNICEF and other partners.

“We started this project to show the girls that they can manage their periods and make sure they don’t miss classes or drop out”, said Hawa Yusuf Ahmed, the project coordinator.

The pads project has not provided livelihoods for the girls, it has also made available sanitary pads for tens of thousands of IDPs (internally displaced persons) living in settlements across Galkayo town. Residents of 21 IDP camps supported by UNHCR receive the pads, while UNICEF sponsors the distribution of pads to local schools.

On average, the project makes at least 1,400 packages a day – each with six sanitary pads and two pairs of underwear. The pads retail for half the price of imported ones, Ahmed said.

“Previously, many of girls were too embarrassed to admit they had their period and would not come to school or work; those days are over,” said Bureqo Ali, 17, an IDP from the southern port city of Kismayo. “We are wearing them and making a living out of it. It is a wonderful feeling.”

Read the full article [IRIN, 01 Nov 2011]



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