It is often seen as a mother's responsibility to cater for her daughter's menstrual needs. But what happens when your mother isn't around? This is Anna's story.
Anna lives with her father, a farmer, in Kwale, Kenya.
Her mother does not live with them, and Anna has had to deal with issues, such as getting her first period, on her own.
Anna's school supports girls by giving them sanitary towels to use only when in school, with the assumption that parents will provide the rest when the child gets home. This has not been the case for Anna.
She has never had the courage to ask her father to buy her sanitary towels - it is not something he expects to deal with. Instead, Anna is forced to skip lunch for a whole week to save the thirty shillings he gives her, to be able to buy sanitary towels.
“When in school, I have to send my friend to borrow sanitary towels from the teacher because sometimes I feel embarrassed that the teacher may notice that I am in my periods. But when my friend is absent and I need the sanitary towels, I have to gather courage and go borrow from the teacher directly. But this is not always easy.”
When girls do not have access to sanitary towels and places to wash, getting their period can be a humiliating time. They worry about being teased, and are often forced to risk infection using dirty rags, or miss school. This is not something that any girl should have to think about.
Anna is working hard to get a scholarship in secondary education. She hopes to become a doctor in the future. Thanks to donations from our supporters, we have been able to provide Anna with sanitary towels so that she doesn't have to choose between eating or being able to go to school on her period.
It is Anna's dream that girls will be able to live their lives without their periods getting in the way. We're working to ensure this dream becomes a reality.