Huru International

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:

  • Girls who receive Huru Kits are 3x less likely to miss school because of their period
  • 9 out of 10 girls who receive a Huru Kit see a reduction in period-related absences
  • More than 8 out of 10 girls who receive a Huru Kit improve their academic performance
  • 9 out of 10 girls report feeling in control of their future after receiving a Huru Kit

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.

The Menstrual Health Digital Learning App

The ubiquity in Kenya of smart phones sometimes comes as a surprise, but ubiquitous they are, even in the poorest communities. So, in partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Health, Huru has pioneered Free 2, a digital learning app that allows young people, girls and boys, as well as their parents, teachers and other children and youth workers to learn about menstrual health, associated SRHR (sexual and reproductive health and rights) in a fun and interactive way to effectively pass on information that could lead to a beneficial behaviour change.

Free 2 is a major componant of our Huru Kit distribution programme, and was pivotally important during the COVID pandemic, allowing us to continue distributing Huru Kits to girls in need without interruption.

Huru’s Skills Development 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.

So far more than 300 students have completed the SDP, and we’re eager to give many more this wonderfully high-result training.

Covid-19 Response

During the COVID 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.

Learn More

Huru International’s informative website, easily accessible 525,600 minutes a year is And the phone number: 212-340-7115.

Huru Girls International