Since our first expedition in May 2016, we have taught Days for Girls workshops in schools, churches, homes, and rescue centers in Kenya. From the streets of Nairobi to the rolling hills of The Mau Forest, we have donated over 3500 reusable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls, including education in hygiene, self-defense, and reproduction. We have helped build and establish two sewing centers, where women in Kenya have become trained Days for Girls Ambassadors, as well as learning sewing and business skills. Because of this, they are able to support their families, and pay for school fees for their children.
Kenya is the 8th Poorest Country in the World
Many women in Kenya struggle with their monthly menstruation, often resorting to sleeping with men in order to buy sanitary towels. There are just over $51 million people in Kenya, and the median age is 19. Kenya currently ranks 8th on the extreme poverty list, and 11 million Kenyans are currently living below the poverty line. In Narok County, where most of our projects are based, 49% of the county is living in poverty.
A reusable feminine hygiene kit can last for up to 3 years when taken care of, and can keep a girl in school without missing due to her period. That is a very big deal for girls in Secondary School, where often pregnancy and poverty cause them to drop out. 100 Humanitarians International commits to fundraising for 1000 kits per year, hiring the women and men who work in the sewing centers to make the kits, keeping the economy in Kenya. Each kit is $10, so our annual fundraising goal is $10,000. Every dollar makes a difference!
Christine Khamasi – Women’s Initiatives Director in Kenya
In this video, you will hear from our Women’s Initiatives Director in Kenya, who also runs the Zariel Days for Girls Enterprise. Her name is Christine Khamasi, and we have worked with her for four years to support her vision for women and girls in Kenya. She comes with us to lead the feminine hygiene workshops on every expedition, and shares her story, which IS the Days for Girls story, with our teams.
Women’s empowerment in Kenya is all about saving time and creating opportunities for education and income. Much of a woman’s day in rural communities is spent gathering water and firewood, and cooking over an open fire inside their huts. It’s dark, smokey, and often they develop respiratory issues as a result.
In addition, women and girls often struggle with menstruation and having access to feminine hygiene products to manage their periods. Often girls will be forced to drop out of school after missing several days a month due to menstruation.
Even if there is feminine hygiene products available, underwear can be scarce, especially for women in the slums and girls in rural Kenya.
Our Women’s Initiatives address these three areas.
Beginning in the Summer of 2015, we helped establish a Days for Girls Enterprise in Nairobi, assisting with fundraising for Christine Sakali to attend the Days for Girls University in Uganda. Christine already had a sewing center where she was employing women from the slums. After becoming certified as an Ambassador for Days for Girls, she began sewing the reusable feminine hygiene kits to distribute to girls in Kenya.
Rather than bring kits from the United States, we wanted to support Christine’s enterprise, and keep the economy in Kenya. We began fundraising for $10 per kit, to allow Christine to purchase supplies and pay her team to sew the kits. Each kit can last up to 3 years when taken care of, allowing a girl to stay in school, rather than miss due to menstruation.
We also helped establish a second Days for Girls Enterprise in Bomet, Kenya, led by our Community Director, Anita Byegon. Between the two enterprises, we have distributed over 5000 kits to women and girls in Kenya, with a goal of 1000 kits each year. The workshops include hygiene, self-defense, and reproductive training, encouraging girls to avoid sex and stay in school.