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Blood Sisters: Menstrual Cups Help Keep Kenyan Girls in School

Aug 10, 2017 by

Once Lavender, 17, has finished her homework, she sweeps the charcoal out of the windowless, adobe kitchen, spreads out a straw sleeping mat over the place where the fire was just burning and packs up her schoolbooks for the next day in a white plastic bag from the supermarket. The bag’s handles have already been stretched into thin strips.

Lavender also has a bag made of cloth, but it is so small that not even an apple would fit inside. Instead, it holds one of Lavender’s prized possessions, one she proudly shows to anyone who asks: a small bell-shaped object made of silicone. Her menstrual cup.

What is a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cups are usually made of pliant, medical-grade silicone and are folded like tampons and inserted into the vagina. Menstrual blood collects in the cup and is emptied into the toilet. The cup is then cleaned with water or wiped with special cleansing tissues. After the period is over, the cup should be sterilized by boiling it in water.

Lavender received it two years ago from Golda Ayodo, 38, a mother of two from Masogo who, together with other women from the community in western Kenya, works to ensure that girls like Lavender can continue going to school even when they have their periods.

In a country where a packet of sanitary napkins costs almost as much as a day’s wages, such a thing is hardly a matter of course.

Out of desperation, many girls shove rags or cotton in their underpants, or even sand. Anything that is absorbent. But they often don’t have enough confidence in such improvised solutions to go to school for fear that they will soil their valuable school uniforms or embarrass themselves in front of their classmates.

Continue: Blood Sisters: Menstrual Cups Help Keep Kenyan Girls in School – SPIEGEL ONLINE

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