Danish Lutheran Mission’s project in Tanzania - Schooling for girls 

Tanzania, December 14, 2020

Ruth Bach Svendsen from Danish Lutheran Mission in Arusha, Tanzania tells: 
With the LMU project "Schooling for girls", the Danish Lutheran Mission has during the last months been visiting more than 30 schools on the outer edges of Arusha county in Tanzania and distributed Safepad™, reusable sanitary pads to 3.500 girls. We have taught them and just as many boys about body changes in puberty. We have distributed 3.500 “My first period” booklets to the girls. We have been received with open arms by teachers and students at all schools.

We have received so much positive feedback. For example, a girl told me how happy she is for the sanitary pads and that she can go to school and not have to stay home the days she has her menstruation. It makes me happy to hear and the project worthwhile.

There was a party from early morning at Ekenywa Secondary School on the occasion of the "opening" of the LMU project.

Teaching teens in schools about body changes in their teens and handing out reusable sanitary napkins to girls who usually do not have the opportunity to get that kind of thing. Many use old cloths and stay home from school for that matter. There was also teaching of body changes for the boys, and everywhere we were received beyond all expectation.

Our team: Charles, myself, Luhekelo and Justin

A trip to Babati, 165 km southwest of Arusha. Here we taught approx. 600 girls and 600 boys.

And a long trip to the south of Arusha to the Masai plain, where the largest population group are Masais. A total of 770 kilometers, 4 days of teaching at 5 schools

The girls are given a small bag for the things they are given: Teaching booklets, 2 pairs of panties, 1 pack of sanitary napkins.

A poster illustrating where the monthly menstruation comes from.

My male colleagues teach the boys who also have lots of good questions in relation to the girls and to their own body.

There are many prejudices about what a girl should not do when she is menstruating. That she is unclean, that she should not touch her father's things, not touch her brothers, not cook, not go to school, not go to the mosque, not talk to boys, and many other things. When we talk to the children about it, we agree with them that all these rules are something we humans set up for each other.