port of harlem magazine
Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.
Girls’ Pride: Inspiring Conversation and Generational Changes
May 5 – May 18, 2022
Fatoumatta Kassama

A few years ago, Fatoumatta Kassama met a woman named Sarah who would share a story that would have such an impact, it would change the course of her life. Sarah,a retired American teacher, has been working on a project that supports girls’ education in Kenya but she noticed that girls were missing school due to menstruation. Whether it was a lack of knowledge or proper materials like pads, girls were unable to go to class when they had their period. The effect was devastating as teachers do not repeat the lessons they’ve taught so girls would often fall behind or drop out of school altogether.

A nurse by profession, Fatoumatta thought back upon her own childhood in The Gambia acknowledging that periods had never been discussed. The only advice she’d received was from her Mom who said, “If you allow man to touch you, you will get pregnant.”

No one ever bought sanitary pads for her. She would stain her school uniform with menstrual blood, miss lessons and get infections after her period. So, Fatoumatta felt called to change the situation and that desire led to the creation of Girls’ Pride, a hybrid organization that addresses period poverty, promotes maternal and child health, keeps girls in schools during their periods, ends gender-based violence and creates job opportunities for youth. They do this by providing reusable sanitary pads, training on menstrual hygiene management and other reproductive health issues, training of trainers on sexual and reproductive health, skills training on reusable sanitary pad production and counselling services.

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Musso Media House - Girl's Pride - 12- minute video

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