A simple, spectacularly successful, life- (and potentially world-) changing programme, Huru International was founded by Lorna McLoed, with funding from Micato (which provides all of Huru’s administrative costs) and a number of prominent foundations.
Huru addresses a major but often overlooked social problem: Kenyan girls — and girls worldwide — who can’t afford sanitary pads very often avoid school during their periods–the average loss is 4-5 days a month, as much as an entire month each school year.
Since 2008, Huru International has supplied more than 120,000 girls from all regions of Kenya with more than 1,000,000 Huru Kits, many of them made at Micato-AmericaShare’s Harambee Centre workshop.
Huru kits consist of a colourful drawstring backpack containing eight reusable pads (each pad lasts up to a year if properly maintained); three pairs of underwear; detergent-grade soap for washing pads; a resealable waterproof bag for the safe storage of used pads; and educational materials focused on HIV prevention and reproductive and sexual health.
The results are deeply gratifying. Girls have been able to stay in school, saving an astounding 3.5 million lost school days. Dropout rates have dramatically decreased. Young women’s lives have been empowered…and saved: according to UNICEF, a girl’s level of education “is likely to determine [her] vulnerability to HIV infection.”
Huru Kit recipients have been interviewed at six-month intervals and Huru has learned that the percentage of girls who routinely missed school during their periods has fallen from 72% to 3%. Eighty-five percent are performing better in school. No problems using Huru pads were reported by 91% of the girls, and 97% recommended Huru Kits to friends and family.
Micato is proud and profoundly grateful to be associated with this powerful idea and programme.