Christina is a Peace Corps Volunteer who reached out to us to make change for her community. In her words, read about the girls she’s working to help by bringing them reusable cloth pads and the promise of an education:
That was the answer I received last week when I asked a group of 11-13 year-old girls in Rundu how they deal with their periods. My walnut sized eyes took a moment to shrink back to size as I tried to hide my shock and carry on the conversation. I considered myself a rebel, or at least a strong feminist, in terms of menstruation. I used DivaCups before they were trendy. At 13, I thought I had most of the period related answers my friends and I were seeking. But this answer was a surprise for a girl who was raised in a tampon and pad world.
Now this Nebraskan is living in Namibia working with the KAYEC Youth Development Program. KYDP is an after school program for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). An acronym that I see translated into resiliency, perseverance, and spunk on a daily basis. The KYD program began as a response to the needs of Namibia Youth. In its third year in Rundu, KYD is centered around academic and emotional support for in-school youth. KYD Rundu currently has nearly 170 students enrolled. More than 90 of these participants are female. The young women of KYD, age 11-18, will be receiving PADS at the start of the 2012 school year from EWA.
As a health Peace Corps Volunteer I often feel more like a teacher in my placement than a health care worker. I’m excited for this project to bridge that gap; but more so, I’m excited for the young women I work with to get support as they become more empowered to take charge over their own bodies and heath.
In addition to working with KYDP, Christina also works with four primary schools in Rundu. She has identified the same need for the girls there and is hoping to get enough pads for them as well. This would increase the number of girls she hopes to help from 98 to over 200.