By Linneah Lijodi
Girls from slum areas tend to indulge in risky sexual behaviour in a bid to provide for themselves sanitary towels. Our young girls have taken it upon themselves to ensure that they get the sanitary towels even if it means using their own young bodies. This risky behaviour not only puts them at the risk of getting pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted disease but also hinders most girls in the informal settlements from continuing with their education and being empowered. A lot of girl child empowerment organisations are in the informal settlement this is to help the girl child in making the right decisions in life.
Days for Girls is a non-governmental organisation based in Korogocho slums that is dedicated to eradicate period poverty. It sews reusable sanitary towels that can be used for up to 3 years. This is a very good initiative as it helps in saving the girls the burden of providing for themselves sanitary towels and falling in the hands of men who are waiting to take advantage of their naivety and childhood. It is also very eco-friendly. The Mukuru Community Justice Centre was able to mobilise 85 girls who benefited from the sanitary care package.
The distribution drive was a fun-time for the girls, who expressed themselves freely and asked questions on sexual and reproductive health. These questions helped in enlightening our young girls to be informed of the choices they make and the consequences of what they choose to indulge in, although most girls in the informal settlement still get pregnant at an alarming rate even after being through these sessions. Days for girls spoke about human trafficking which is also rampant in the informal settlement due to the fact that poverty levels and lack of information were some of the reasons that most girls and women were trafficked with the lie of a better life.
Some women and girls get trafficked as domestic workers, some are used to perform rituals while others are sex slaves. Most girls and women take this risk with the hope for a better life for them and their families. The girls were encouraged to appreciate whatever little they have and work smart towards their preferred lives. Girls were also informed on forms of sexual harassment that some of them are subjected to, which most of the girls just brush of lightly.
We need a society of brave women who can speak for themselves and call out injustices being done to them. There was also the aspect of the girls learning defence mechanisms which comes in handy in dangerous situations and can be used in self defence against paedophiles, rapists and anyone with bad intentions. The girls were released and later a follow up was done by Mukuru Community Justice Centre if they arrived safe and sound.