Allow me to start this by sharing a confession: I am one among many, or so I think, that thought all women had their menstrual cycle at the same time in the month.
Well, let us just say, my formative education was not really detailed on this particular matter. Now, with that out of my chest, allow me to share with you my journey in my being an active and conscious agent, fighting period shame and stigma.
‘An invitation to participate and be part of transformational campaign was shared with me by Catherine Mumo, the founder of Nawiri Sisters. Inspired by the plight facing many young girls in Kenya, she wanted to champion hope and restoration to as many girls as she possibly could; the quest was too good not be involved in.
Having had the privilege of engaging many young girls in my line work, community development, my appreciation of the mission was tangible. I knew it was necessary. I knew it had to be done. Thenceforth, together with Rachel Otieno, a key player in the establishment of Nawiri, the first step towards a massive battle facing many young girls started.
Our approach was simple and practical. Being in a university that is privileged to be near a primary school, Madaraka Primary School, it was prudent for us to have our first project here. Appreciating the fact that the school served many young girls from Sub-Sahara’s biggest informal settlement, Kibera, we thought it necessary to ask the school whether the girls would be in need. We asked. The response was an affirmative; escorted by a “where have you been all along; we needed this support like yesterday”. As a result, it was all systems go.
This was one of the most exciting moments in this formation processing, bouncing ideas against dedicated and transformative minds, with a purpose bigger than each of us. Nawiri, Kiswahili word which can loosely be translated to mean prosper, was starting to live up to its name.
With an established target audience of more than 250 girls, it was evident that this battle could not be fought by a few; more so, that was never the intention of the founding team in the first place. An invitation to more students was made, and a number of female university students joined in.
Donations were made, collections done and finally the girls got the chance to meet their senior sisters and start this journey of empowerment together. The delight witnessed, not only in the pupils but likewise the university students, was evident that whatever was once an idea, was manifesting into something special. The special nature embodied at the core of Nawiri, allowed to triumph and be impactful even when COVID knocked on our doors. Not only was Nawiri shortlisted among the best 10 student-led COVID-aid awardees in the Tufts international competition, but it also scaled up and supported families during the COVID period.
Being at the centre of it all, more so, witnessing young people actively engaged in the improvement of lives for those around them, re-ignited by passion and quest in development. It is stated that life is not about the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away; witnessing Nawiri grow was breath-taking.
Therefore, as I recall my journey; coming from the unknown and illusion that the menstrual cycle was a calendar event like the New Years, to witnessing impact among young girls and young change agents, I am only left with one thing to say: What is stopping you from joining this noble mission.