Girls Education: Tigist’s Story
In the Amhara region, more girls than boys enrol in primary school but throughout secondary school more female students drop out and, nationwide, only three in ten university students are female.
One problem that holds girls back at school is periods. Girls who are from poor families in particular are unable to afford proper pads. Without these materials, many girls cannot concentrate in lessons or miss school altogether during their period.
Tigist is a student who is attends a government school called Fasildes secondary. Both of her parents died when she was young and her aunt looks after her. Her aunt has a low income and finds it hard to support the family. As a 16 year old in grade 10, Fasika’s needs have increased.
Tigist was using pieces of old cloth during her period and often blood would leak onto her clothes. She was too embarrassed to go to school. If she did go to school, her concentration was affected and students laughed at her. Over time, she was finding school a struggle and she was absent from school two or three days a month.
Through Together We Learn’s re-usable period pack programme, Tigist received a reusable period kit that will last up to three years. She took part in training that taught her about puberty, the menstrual cycle and family planning as well as her rights over her body.
“Firstly, I was less focused, lacking confidence, shy and usually absent during my period but now I understand why girls have menstruation and how we can make our school life easier. From the time I received the reusable sanitary pads together with the training, my school life is extremely improved and I am able to attend my whole school lessons with full concentration during my period.”
Her teacher Temsegen said, “Both her lesson participation and her school subject results are significantly improved. Every school term, her achievement is getting better and better. This academic year she stood seventh in her class out of 68 students.”
Tigist is very interested in pass on what she has learnt to the other girls who are in the same situation and she is now involved in the training on how to use reusable sanitary pads for other Together We Learn sponsored girls.
Written by Elsa Kebede, Country Director
*Names in all of our case studies have been changed to protect privacy