Let's talk about menstruation

Femme International helps young girls with menstruation, sexual health and feminine hygiene in Eastern Africa

Have you ever thought about how you would handle your period with no access to sanitary towels or tampons? What if you, through the fluke of birth, were too poor to buy pads, or you were trapped in a refugee camp or an isolated rural community with no access to education or support.  What would you do? What would you do for your daughter?

In 2012, the British Educational Research Association claimed that "sanitary [supplies] are arguably the lowest cost intervention measure to yield the largest social and economic change in both the short and long term."

In Kenya, the average cost of a package of sanitary pads is approximately $0.87. While this may seem like a minimal amount of money, the average daily income for unskilled labourers is around $1.40 - meaning that purchasing sanitary supplies each month is not financially possible for thousands of women.

Without these basic supplies, girls take up to five days off school every month and are left with the option of starving for a week to buy sanitary pads or use leaves, unsanitized rags or mud as substitutes leading to infections. 

On today's show, Sean interviewed Sabrina Rubli from Femme International, an organisation that aims to provide reusable and safe menstrual cups to girls throughout Eastern Africa. 

Menstrual cups are made out of surgical grade silicone and are inserted into the vagina to collect, rather than absorb menstrual fluid. They can last up to 10 years so there is an economic freedom to girls to stay in school every month.

The charity are currently working in 7 schools in the slums of Nairobi, 2 schools in Tanzania with 2 more planned for 2015.

Learn more about the charity at Femme International 

  • Donations are very welcome! A femme kit is $35 – it contains a menstrual cup, a bar of soap, a metal bowl to wash the cup out in, a small towel and all in a canvas bag. It also includes the price for the seminar for the girls to attend about menstrual health so the charity also include a notebook, a pen and a snack to go through the class with.
  • You can also buy a femme cap for $12

Listen back to the interview here: