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East African girls who can’t afford sanitary pads very often avoid school during their periods, losing as much as an entire month each school year. The consequences are significant: girls who miss school or work fall behind, drop out or quit, perpetuating a grim cycle of poverty and gender inequality.
Micato is a major donor and proud supporter of Huru International, founded in 2008 by AmericaShare’s co-founder Lorna Macleod. Huru manufactures reusable sanitary pads—more than 2.2 million to date—which have been distributed in free Huru Kits to more than 320,000 girls in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
But Huru Kits have proven to be a simple, sustainable, and wonderfully practical way to alleviate this worldwide problem.
Each Huru Kit consists of a colourful drawstring backpack with six reusable pads; three pairs of underwear; detergent-grade soap for washing pads; two resealable waterproof bags for safe storage of used pads; and educational materials on HIV prevention and reproductive and sexual health.
All Huru pads are locally produced by women and men from underserved communities and are designed for resilient girls and women who use them. Each pad lasts a minimum of 24 months, making them a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to expensive disposables.
Independent evaluation shows the following.
The crucial and heartening bottom line: Huru Kits have saved girls 4,455,000 school days that otherwise would have been lost. Micato is proud and profoundly grateful to be associated with this powerful idea and programme.
Inspired by its unique experience with Africa’s girls and young women, Huru has launched an innovative Skills Development Programme to address youth unemployment (which stands at 39 percent in Kenya, and disproportionately impacts girls; 65 percent of the Programme’s trainees have no income whatsoever).
The Skills Development Programme trains young women in practical, marketable industrial sewing skills that are in high demand from Kenya’s textile industry. Over the course of eight weeks, trainees focus on industrial sewing and tailoring, supplemented with lessons on business, finance, and entrepreneurship. At the end of their training, the young women sit for the National Industrial Training Authority’s exam, which provides them with a nationally recognized certificate to take to potential employers.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Huru’s production facility in Nairobi also produced multilayered face masks for the vulnerable residents of Mukuru. Mukuru is one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements with over 300,000 residents. To learn more about this initiative, visit our blog.
Huru International’s informative website, easily accessible 525,600 minutes a year is HuruInternational.org. And the phone number: 212-340-7115.