Happy to Make Sanitary Pads for My Sisters: Munaya

Written by Bernice Agyekwena, Ghana Communications Manager

Munaya, Teen Girls Coordinator at Kukuboso

In a bid to provide enough sanitary pads for members of the Teen Girls Club scattered across five communities in the Ashanti Region, Self Help International reached out to Munaya, a 27 year old seamstress and a former member of the Teen Girls Club being implemented by Self Help International in these communities to help fulfill its obligation.

The Teen Girls Club opted to provide 200 reusable sanitary pad kits to 200 members of the club as part of activities marking last year’s World Menstrual Health Day. Each reusable sanitary pad kit consists of two shields, six liners, a pant, and a cycle calendar in a draw-string bag.

Munaya, who is also a Club Coordinator, was contracted to make 400 shields, and 200 draw-string bags while the club also acquired 1000 liners from Accra to add up to the 200 that were already in stock for her to put together the 200 reusable sanitary pad kits.

Commenting on the important role that access to these pads play in the lives of teenage girls, she said, “I am happy to make sanitary pads for my younger sisters. Not having access to sanitary pads poses a big problem for teenage girls. Some girls resort to using pieces of cloth and if these clothes are not hygienic they expose themselves to infections.The pads I am making are neat and are a better alternative for these girls.”

Munaya said not only are cloth pads sometimes unhygienic but are also often inefficient.

“Some of these clothes may not be effective at absorbing the menstrual flow leading to the girls soiling their uniforms in school. This can be quite embarrassing and humiliating for the girls since no female would like anyone to know that they are menstruating . Menstruation is a very private affair that females prefer to keep secret.”

Munaya said some teenage girls who do not have access to menstrual pads may even opt not to attend school at all during their menstrual days in order to avoid being embarrassed when they soil their uniforms.

In this regard, she was proud to be producing pads for the Teen Girls, saying, “By helping to make sanitary pads available to the girls, I will be protecting them from the anxiety and worry associated with not having a pad. This will also have a positive impact on their school attendance since they will no longer be forced to stay at home because they do not have pads.”

She was confident that making pads will benefit not only the teen girls but the entire female population in her community.

“Some of our mothers do not even know pads. They have always relied on clothes. If they can have access to pads, they will use them. Even when I was sewing for the teen girls, some of the women who passed by my shop enquired whether I was selling them. Hence, I am aware that making these pads can become a business opportunity for me whereby I can supply women in my community as well as neighboring communities with pads for a fee.”

Munaya said she was fortunate that SHI contracted her to produce these pads; “The opportunity came at the right time since I was even contemplating quitting sewing altogether as a result of low patronage. But now that I am making these pads, it has rekindled my interest in my profession and I have been awakened to how useful my skills are to other people.”

Munaya, who joined the Teen Girls Club in 2016 at the age of 20 while working as an apprentice seamstress said she was grateful to the club for the positive impact it has made on her life.

“While working as an apprentice, anytime I saw the club members, I wished I was part of them. Though I had already enrolled to train as a seamstress, I was having difficulties in reading and writing which was affecting my progress. Having heard about the literacy and some personal development training programs being rendered to club members, I developed the interest in joining the club despite my age.”

Munaya’s struggles with the English Language was because she was forced to drop out of school after completing her basic education at the District Assembly Basic School at Kukuboso due to financial constraints thus curbing her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

Munaya shows a shield she has made

Once she was given the go ahead to join the club, Muanya wasted no time in accessing its activities.

“I sat in the literacy class with younger colleagues but I was not shy or discouraged because I had a focus. A year after enrollment, my reading skills improved and I was able to compete with my fellows.”

She said the club’s activities helped her to boost her confidence level since feelings of inferiority had been a major challenge to her. “Their self-esteem training program was very beneficial to me. The team was always mindful of my personal issues and provided the needed advice as and when it was necessary.”

Munaya credited the Teen Girls Club for motivating her to focus on her profession and complete her training to become a professional seamstress with an apprentice of her own today instead of falling victim to the scourge of teenage pregnancy which happens to be prevalent at Kukuboso, the community in which she lives.

“In fact SHI has really helped me and it is my wish that every teenage girl in this community would get enrolled in their program. I am very grateful for the privilege given to me as a club coordinator in my community and I am looking forward to using this opportunity to impact positively on the lives of the girls,” she said.