I won’t drop out school because of Menstruation -Janet

I found it hard to access sanitary pads to use during my menstrual periods...As a result of that, I opted out of school especially on those days because I did not want boys to laugh at me for staining my uniform.
Janet
Ofua 3 Primary School

By Peace Immaculate Chandini

Seventeen year old Janet is a Level 3 pupil at Ofua 3 Primary School. Having lost her mother at a tender age while in South Sudan, life became challenging for Janet as she was not in position to continue with school. One of the reasons she dropped out of school was because of menstruation.

“I found it hard to access sanitary pads to use during my menstrual periods,” says Janet, adding, “As a result of that, I opted out of school especially on those days because I did not want boys to laugh at me for staining my uniform.” Janet says she was scared to ask her father to get for her pads mostly because she couldn’t imagine talking to a man about such an intimate feminine matter. While she dropped out of school because of financial constraints, she says lack of basic needs like sanitary pads contributed greatly.

With the war raging on endlessly in South Sudan, Janet escaped with her grandmother and they sought refugee in Uganda. Currently, they live in Ofua 3 village in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement.

Despite having dropped out of school in 2014, Janet never lost hope. She believed that a day would come when her desire to go back to school would be met. And the opportunity came in the refugee settlement where she re-enrolled for school in 2017.

Janet’s school is one of the many schools Oxfam with funding from the European Union Civil and Humanitarian Protection (ECHO), is supporting by providing female menstrual hygiene kits (which contain reusable sanitary pads, knickers, soap, kitenge and bucket). The 800 girls in selected primary schools in Rhino Camp, Imvepi and Bidibidi Refugee settlements are also trained on menstrual hygiene management.

“I am not worried about dropping out of school because of menstruation any more,” she says, with a smile. Her dream of becoming a doctor still lives on.