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From Taboo to Empowerment: My Period Story by Jacque Iveria Khabare

September 20, 2023
My Period Story by Jacque

At Promise Hill Project, our hearts fill with joy and gratitude as we witness the incredible impact of our work on the lives of girls and women throughout Kenya.

Through our Basic Needs Program , we’ve had the privilege of reaching even the most remote and underserved villages in Kenya. Through our Teen Outreach Sessions , we empowered girls and women with information, support, and essential menstrual hygiene products to help them better manage their periods.

Today, we want to share the remarkable story of Jacque Iveria Khabare, a passionate volunteer who embodies the very essence of Promise Hill Project.

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, during the 1980s, Jacque shares her journey through the challenges and uncertainties of adolescence and menstruation in a society where discussing such matters was considered taboo.

It sheds light on the critical importance of our mission to make period products accessible to those in need. Let’s hear “My Period Story,” a firsthand account of Jacque.

I started my period when I was about 13 years old. My mother, may her soul rest in peace, was part of a generation that rarely discussed matters related to monthly periods. Consequently, I had very little information to navigate this crucial phase of my life. However, one thing was clear: no one should ever see a period stain.

If I stained the bedding or my school uniform, it would lead to brutal bullying and mockery, not only from other children but also from adults. No one bothered to ask if I had pads or needed assistance; the responsibility to ensure I didn’t stain anything fell squarely on my shoulders.

With the limited knowledge I had, this was an almost impossible task. I didn’t know when my period would start, which days were heavy, or how often to change the washable pieces of cloth I was using.

I struggled with how to store my soiled cloth when I changed discreetly so I could take it home to wash and reuse. Infections plagued my teenage years, from urinary tract infections to pelvic inflammatory diseases.

My mother, an illiterate housemaid, had limited access to information and couldn’t offer much guidance on what to do or where to seek treatment. Sometimes, both she and I suffered from urinary infections for months before seeking help at a hospital when the pain became unbearable.

I vividly recall a distressing incident when my older brother brought me to a hospital with an itch in my private area, and the “doctor” suggested I might be pregnant. I was mortified; I didn’t even know how to have a boyfriend, let alone engage in sexual activity. This incident highlights the inadequacies of healthcare practitioners in handling reproductive health issues for teenagers.

It wasn’t until organizations like FPIA started establishing youth-friendly centers that this critical information began to reach out to a portion of teenagers, particularly those in urban areas.

The work that Promise Hill Project is doing for girls and women is invaluable. The organization strives to reach even the most remote villages in Kenya, making a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals.

In Africa, especially, the hygiene products distributed by Promise Hill Project help prevent many issues for girls. These range from infections and engaging in risky activities for money to purchase hygiene products to school dropouts due to period-related bullying and more.

Promise Hill Project is changing futures, lives, and potentials, including mine, every single day.

The information provided during their outreach events is not merely effective; it’s transformative. Every girl who doesn’t have to visit the hospital as often or miss school is grateful for all that Promise Hill Project does for our communities.

It is a beacon of hope, illuminating the path toward a brighter and more informed future for girls and women in Kenya.

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Basic Needs Program by Promise Hill Project

Jacque’s story is a testament to the transformative power of information and support and how they can change lives for the better.

One of the main objectives of our Basic Needs Program is to address period poverty by providing women with access to menstrual hygiene products.

The program takes a holistic approach, distributing products and conducting workshops and awareness programs. These health and wellness program efforts empower women with knowledge about menstrual health and hygiene practices, ultimately working towards destigmatizing menstruation.

Support Promise Hill Project’s Basic Needs Program by donating women’s sanitary products today. Do your bit and take a step towards eradicating period poverty.

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