A Kenyan student killed herself after her female teacher allegedly called her “dirty” and kicked her out of class for staining her uniform during her monthly cycle.
Jackline Chepngeno, 14, hanged herself Sept. 6 after the teacher allegedly period shamed her while attending Kabiangek Primary School in Kabiangek, west of the Nairobi capital, Kenyan outlet Daily Nation reported.
Her classmates told the news outlet Jackline was confused and could hardly concentrate after soiling her uniform, which attracted her teacher’s attention.
The teacher humiliated her in front of the entire class, the child’s mother Beatrice Koech told the Daily Nation.
Jackline had walked home and told her mother what happened before going to get water from a nearby water pan, the Daily Nation reported.
There she decided to hang herself using a leso she was carrying, according to the news outlet.
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“When police arrived at the scene, they found the girl had committed suicide using a leso and the body was moved to Kapkatet Hospital mortuary,” Konoin Sub-County Police Commander Alex Shikondi said.
Following reports of Jackline’s death, a crowd of about 200 parents protested period shaming outside the school, the BBC reported.
Kenya passed a law in 2017 and allocated about $4.7 million in the 2017/2018 financial budget to provide free sanitary towels for schoolgirls, according to CNBC Africa.
A parliamentary committee is investigating why the program has not yet been implemented in schools.
One in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa missed school during their period to avoid period shaming, according to a 2014 United Nations report. For this reason, girls are more likely to drop out of school and miss out on 20 percent of their education, authors of the report said.
Charities accepting donations to aid in feminine hygiene support:
Several charitable organizations have taken on the issue of providing feminine hygiene products as well as menstrual and sexual health education to girls.
The ZanaAfrica Foundation, one of those organizations, has provided more than 50,000 adolescent girls with menstrual and sexual health support since 2007, according to the organization’s website.
Others working internationally and in the United States include Freedom4Girls in the United Kingdom, Days for Girls, The Homeless Period, I Support the Girls and #HappyPeriod.
ZanaAfrica received a $2.6 million, four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016 to test the impact of disposable sanitary pads and health education.
ZanaAfrica CEO Gina Reiss-Wilchins said in the news release announcing the grant that her hope is the study will put the issue of feminine hygiene for schoolgirls on the United Nation’s agenda.
“All women and girls deserve access to pads and health education,” Reiss-Wilchins said. “Leading human rights organizations are finally beginning to see menstrual health management as a human right.
“We are hopeful that this study will continue to move the needle so that it becomes a key topic of discussion related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
The international peace organization does not count feminine hygiene, period shaming or sexual health education among this year’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, according to its website.