The non-for-profit, student-led initiative, Project Imagine, is thrilled to be celebrating a huge milestone this month. Project Imagine spreads a "period positive" message and supports over 600 vulnerable girls in three schools in Kenya through peer-to peer mentoring and menstrual health and hygiene support. This month we are thrilled to be celebrating the distribution of our 100,000th sanitary pad!
Project Imagine was started four years ago by two ISK eighth graders (Selah, Founder) and Isabella (Vice President) after Selah realized that one of the things she took for granted was regular access to pads. This led her to research the topic discovering that one in ten Kenyan female students will miss school and eventually drop out due to reasons related to menstruation. Limited access to sanitary towels combined with the shame and stigma surrounding the menstrual cycle leads to accumulative absenteeism, causing many girls to fall significantly behind. What many students at ISK take for granted can prove to be a determining factor in whether or not a Kenyan girl is able to finish school or not.
Informed by these statistics and motivated to make a difference in the lives of Kenyan girls, Project Imagine has grown to include the active engagement of thirty-six ISK high school students (girls and boys). Project Imagine regularly visit the schools in Murgan'a county (Swani and Mount Olive) and in Gashie (Salama) to promote the period positive message. During these visits, students lead activities aimed at building self-confidence, promoting the importance of education as a means of achieving goals and sharing information about girls' health and hygiene, especially menstruation. All of this is done through interactive games, visual materials, group discussions and peer to peer mentoring.
The period positive approach is designed to break down stigma and shame around menstrual health. ISK students are champions of this effort and speak with confidence about the who, what, when, why and how of menstruation. Through breaking the taboo surrounding periods, Project Imagine is making it easier for girls and boys to understand menstruation, access the necessary supplies when the girls have their period and promote the importance of education. In addition to distributing more than 100,000 pads over the past four years, in October of this past year, Project Imagine celebrated the first graduating class at Swani Primary to have been engaged in Project Imagine for three years (classes 6, 7. 8). All of the girls passed exams and are moving on to secondary school-a major milestone for all!
Project Imagine is grateful for the ongoing parental and community support ISK has provided to this effort and hopes that all who have contributed in big and small ways can help us celebrate this important achievement. You can find more information, inspiring stories and videos at projectimagine.net.