Back when kids went to school in buildings, 16-year-old Harifeya stayed home for days when she first got her period, rather than risk being ridiculed or humiliated. Menstruation is a source of shame for many girls in rural Ethiopia, the vast majority of whom lack access to expensive and hard-to-find sanitary supplies.
“I did not go to class for three days. ... I thought people would stare at me and insult me. I did not go outside of the house. … This affected everything in my life," Harifeya told our friends at Ethiopiaid, a longstanding funder of Dignity Period.
Because of Ethiopiaid and other generous supporters, Dignity Period provides sanitary supplies and de-stigmatizing information about menstruation to girls like Harifeya, giving them the self-confidence to stay in school, to get an education, to lay the foundation of a bright future.
In a recent email to supporters, Ethiopiaid calls attention to the heightened risk that girls in Tigray and other regions of Ethiopia face with schools closed because of COVID-19 ... "losing momentum and falling behind; they risk being kept home by parents to help with chores and childcare; and potentially, they risk an early marriage. ...
"We know that educated girls make better decisions about their bodies, their lives and their future families. They have access to better opportunities, employment, are at less risk of dying in childbirth and are more likely to send their own children to school."
Once schools reopen, we need girls like Harifeya to get back to school confidently and without shame. Our aim is for every rural girl across Tigray to receive a free sanitary pack containing reusable pads, underwear and soap: a simple solution that ultimately transforms lives and futures.
We thank Ethiopiaid for sharing stories like Harifeya's, for raising awareness about period poverty, and for supporting our work so generously. Over the past five years, more than a half million dollars of support from Ethiopioid has funded:
Sanitary pads for thousands of girls.
Educational booklets about menstruation.
Restrooms and wash facilities, which many schools lack.
All-terrain vehicles that help our staff reach remote villages.
With offices in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, Ethiopiaid invests in partnerships with Dignity Period and other trusted organizations working to alleviate poverty and advance educational opportunity in Ethiopia.
Learn more about Ethiopiaid in their summer 2020 newsletter.