Empowering Women in East Africa: Love Binti strives to fight interval poverty

By Bernadette Hsiao, CNA workers author

[Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series looking at the effort of Taiwanese NGOs in advocating for period equity, both at a national and international level. Read part 1 here.]

After discovering throughout her volunteer work in 2015 that some women in Kenya miss and even drop out of faculty as a result of they can not afford sanitary pads, Sara Liu (劉兆雯) started fascinated about how she may assist. Shortly after, she based “Love Binti” in 2015.

“As a lady rising up in Taiwan, I by no means imagined that somebody can be unable to attend college just because she did not have entry to sanitary pads,” Liu stated, as she recalled the shock she felt all these years in the past.

Primarily based in Uganda and Taiwan, Love Binti is an NGO devoted to combating interval poverty in East Africa, with operations in 9 nations together with Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.

Love Binti’s first mission, the reusable pad workshop, goals to deal with the difficulty of ladies lacking college throughout their intervals resulting from a scarcity of sanitary pads.

“Binti” in Swahili means “lady” or “daughter” and “our title means to like and care for women,” Liu advised CNA in a current interview.

Reusable pad workshop

“Menstruation is a traditional physiological phenomenon that women expertise and it shouldn’t stop them from going to high school,” Liu stated.

She famous that menstruation is taken into account a taboo matter in lots of East African societies, “Some even name a lady on her interval cursed” and “faculties and moms do not actually train women about it,” she defined.

Usually resulting from powerful financial conditions, faculties can solely present restricted assist to their college students.

“Within the workshop, we clarify menstruation to contributors, inform them what a reusable pad is, how it’s used, and train them how you can sew one,” Liu stated.

“We additionally inform them the place to seek out the supplies wanted, and how you can clear and protect the pads.”

Every participant makes two or three pads through the workshop, Liu stated, including that they can be utilized for as much as three years if made and maintained properly.

As soon as, whereas Love Binti workers have been visiting a village in Uganda’s West Nile sub-region, a lady, recognized as Josephine, approached and thanked them, Liu stated.

The lady stated she used to remain residence and miss college throughout her interval as a result of she did not have sanitary pads, however due to Love Binti’s reusable pads, she was capable of begin attending college and had enrolled in highschool, Liu recalled.

In line with Liu, for the reason that mission was launched, over 3,000 workshops have been held, with greater than 150,000 contributors.

Along with serving to women keep in faculties, the workshops even have constructive environmental impacts by selling sustainability.

As a result of intervals final round three to 5 days each month, disposable pads create numerous waste, Liu stated.

She added that in rural Africa, waste is commonly burned, which has vital unfavorable environmental impacts. Subsequently, utilizing reusable pads contributes to sustainability.

Stitching coaching facilities

Individuals can additional develop their abilities realized on the pad workshops whereas studying how you can make garments and luggage at stitching coaching facilities.

“We hope to reinforce their stitching abilities and produce out their creativity. And possibly they will even use these newfound abilities to enhance their livelihoods,” Liu stated of the concept behind the facilities.

Enterprise ideas corresponding to accounting, understanding price buildings and pricing methods are additionally taught, to assist individuals begin their very own companies.

One other particular facet of the stitching coaching facilities is the annual “commencement ceremony,” an thought first proposed by their Ugandan mission supervisor.

On the commencement ceremony, all contributors put on garments designed and made by themselves. A few of them even convey alongside their children, who additionally put on the garments made by their moms.

“It is a very heartwarming second,” Liu stated, “Each one in all them seems to be comfortable and assured. They might not have completed major college resulting from financial elements, so it is a great expertise to have a commencement ceremony that showcases their achievements following three months of studying and coaching.”

Educate an individual to fish and also you feed them for a lifetime

Utilizing Uganda for instance, Liu defined the explanations behind beginning reusable pad workshops as an alternative of donating pads.

“Initially, the inhabitants is over 45 million and round two-thirds of ladies in Uganda menstruate.”

“Plus, a interval is not a one-time occasion. Girls have them for many years, from round age 12 to 50. Given the variety of pads wanted and the fee, who is able to assure a constant provide indefinitely?”

“If at some point we have been now not capable of provide women and girls with pads, they’d be again to sq. one. So, because of this we train them to make their very own as an alternative.”

Liu added that Love Binti supplies needles and threads at every pad workshop, which contributors can take residence to make use of later.

Outlook for the longer term

Along with pad workshops, Love Binti additionally works on constructing tasks, like renovating lecture rooms, and constructing bathrooms, water wells, and carbon-neutral stoves.

Agricultural coaching can be supplied to assist residents study abilities that can be utilized to enhance their livelihoods.

Already a registered NGO in Taiwan, Uganda and Eswatini, Liu stated she is now engaged on getting Love Binti registered in the US and Denmark, the place discussions about intervals are usually extra accepted.

Liu added that this might assist enhance alternatives to collaborate with different NGOs and produce collectively those that wish to enhance the lives of individuals dwelling in difficult circumstances.


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