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This UK charity aims to fight Kenya's period poverty

STAY SANITARY: Raise The Roof Kenya

A UK charity working on the ground in Kenya to ease the problems of period poverty for local women and girls is appealing for funding to empower them to tackle the issue themselves.

Raise The Roof Kenya - founded by 31-year-old Holly Bantleman, of Ealing, West London - hopes to raise £30,000 to set up a hub where women can make washable and reusable sanitary pads locally, producing and distributing 1000 pads to start with. This will also create 13 jobs for unemployed women in the rural area of Barut.

Each pad costs around £8 to make but can be used for up to two years. The crowdfunder will help finance a space to produce the pads while also paying for sewing machines, fabric and all the elements necessary to keep up with demand. If successful, the hub will generate further employment in the area and dramatically increase the supply of pads.

The charity already works with local partners to bridge the gap between the demand for sanitary products, which currently outstrips supply, while also offering information and education to address menstrual hygiene.

Since Raise The Roof Kenya launched in 2012, it has supported 150 youths through training and employment, worked with more than 300 community partners to improve income generation and provided 45,000+ women and girls with sustainable menstrual hygiene management.

Founder Holly Bantleman set up the charity while working in Kenya during her own battle with severe endometriosis. She says: “Having been working in Kenya through most of the symptoms, I often questioned what I would do if I had to cope with this condition while unable to escape the stigma of having a period or not having sufficient products to support me.

“I realised the women and girls I was working closely with were unable to go to school or work during their periods due to a lack of pads. I felt very committed to ensuring those experiencing similar symptoms to me at the very least had the products available to make the situation bearable and to restore their confidence and dignity.”

A social media campaign to support the funding call has begun and the donation page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/raisetheroofkenya/julianna

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