Life is very difficult for a girl child in rural areas.

Girl child

The life they say is not a bed of roses. Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouth; others don’t have immediate access to the spoon but can afford what they need. For others still, life is very difficult and they wonder if it won’t overcome them

A lot of things are easy to say, you can talk about your future, dreams and what you want to achieve in life. If you are comfortable and can eat what and when you can. But what can you say when you are 6-12-year-old child particularly a girl child who has to walk more than 10 kilometres every day while trying to look for basic education

Pupils from Iganga do this every day, every term and every year. Not all them can afford to buy shoes, most of them walk barefooted and some of them are still committed to learning and probably they no longer see this as a challenge especially boys

But what about a girl child who is just 12 years old, in her menstruation periods, and has to wake up as early as 5:30 am to do some housework before she leaves home for school. This is quite challenging for her and It becomes worse when this child can’t afford to buy sanitary pads and she has to use the ordinary towels especially those that they cut from old bedsheets and wrappers

When I was in Iganga district, I felt what a girl can go through every day, especially during her menstrual days and by the way it’s not easy to be in those towels for more than 5 hours and remember this child has to be at school for more than 8 hours. It becomes worse when she has to walk ten kilometres every day while wearing them. Honestly, these towels don’t give comfort at all

Now what about a girl who has just seen the menstruation for the first or second time, who literally knows nothing about this experience and she has to go through such every day, oh there is no good life here, there is absolutely no hope for this girl to see herself in a higher institution someday

These young girls sometimes lose interest in school because of they move very distances from home to school, the “boys” bully them due to their menstrual condition, they leave home when they are already tired which makes them lose concentration in class

What can you really do or say about this condition or about the future when you are not even certain of the present? Just put yourself into this girls shoe

This has forced many girls around this area to become “child mothers” imagine a child breastfeeding her fellow child! This is so sad

I was told about the challenges that they face every day and they were so touching. They told about them in details and some you already know them

The few I talked too, managed to give them hope by encouraging them to stay in school, to be committed girls and to have a goal to achieve. I can’t explain enough how happy these girls were, how they wished blessings upon whoever had a hand in giving them hope

Sensitizing the community will do more good in ending menstrual stigma and discrimination

Hope you enjoyed it!

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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