Jascar Foundation: Girl's Health Awareness
Classic Africa Safaris' very own Caroline Birungi founded this project to change the future for girls in Uganda
As CAS workshop supervisor, Caroline manages the day-to-day operations of the workshop and the stores, overseas health and safety protocols, supervises the 50-point check-ups that CAS performs on each vehicle before and after every safari, keeps all maintenance records on our vehicles, spearheads a environment of teamwork and comradery in the workshop and more.
In 2020, Caroline met a 14-year-old girl who had stopped attending school because she had her first menstrual period while at school. Without any appropriate sanitary supplies or even underwear, the teenager had fashioned a sanitary pad from a dirty cloth and underwear from a plastic bag. As she was playing with friends at school, her make-shift pad was exposed and everyone laughed and teased her for her lack of supplies. She carried the shame of being laughed at until she decided to drop out of school. No one was there to help, counsel and teach her about menstrual health awareness and with that as the motivating factor, Caroline founded her organization. Today, Caroline meets with as many as 500 girls from a variety of schools to teach them about menstrual health awareness, how to overcome some of the challenges in school and community as girls, plus proper menstrual hygiene, the how-to's of reusable sanitary pad use and then distribute pads and underwear to those girls who cannot afford them.
The experience of the teenager hits close to home for Caroline. She used the same polythene bags as underwear and fresh banana leaves as pads for three years until a friend told her how to use old clothes to fashion a make-shift sanitary pad. When she started her period at a young age, she was living with her grandmother who provided no support and spent her days drinking heavily. At the age of eight, Caroline was told by her grandmother to start taking care of herself...that meant sourcing and making clothing, sorting her own school fees, medication, etc. Her grandmother made it clear that her money was for "drinking only" and Caroline's future was in her own hands. Her experience as a young girl led her to help other girls learn about their own health with the goals of providing reusable sanitary pads and promoting life-long education and fighting shame.
Caroline says, " I would not have been a motor vehicle mechanic now if I had dropped out of school even though no one was there to help me. I did it all myself."
By providing sanitary pads, many girls will concentrate and complete their education with increased performance and the gender gap between boys and girls enrollment and retention in school will be reduced. Under this project, Caroline is also working towards training female teachers in schools to make sanitary pads from locally available and sustainable materials.
Please contact us for more details on how to support Caroline's project.
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