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|WINDHOEK， Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Around 760 girls in rural Namibia have found a sense of security and joy thanks to the use of reusable sanitary pads， SisterPads. The beneficiaries， mostly school going girls from impoverished communities， now have no fear of going to school during their monthly cycle.
Before this， a vast number of rural girls， who came from poor backgrounds and communities were using mattress stuffing， newspapers and cloths during their menstrual cycle period， due to the fact that they could not afford disposable sanitary pads from the stores.
Not being able to afford this necessity， resulted in most school girls opting to stay away from school when they were on their cycle， as they feared discrimination and embarrassment.
The research into this situation was unearthed by， a feminist and women's rights organization located in Windhoek， Sister Namibia Trust.
"Through our own research we saw that a high number of school girls， including those at tertiary institutions miss quite a significant number of school days of when they are menstruating，" said an official at Sister Namibia Trust， Innocentia Gaoes.
"One in ten African girls miss between three to five school days per month for a lack of sanitary wear，" she added.
The product was introduced by Sister Namibia， aimed at improving the welfare and dignity of rural girls by enabling them mobility， access to education and an opportunity to excel， without having their menstruation limiting them.
"We believe it is a tangible solution aimed at reducing economic and social vulnerabilities for young girls， especially in rural areas，" said Gaoes.
The pads are made from 100 percent cotton and ProSoft Waterproof PUL. The waterproof PUL is the key component of the SisterPad， being breathable， soft， stretchy， flexible and durable.
The project which started in 2014， targeted specific regions in Namibia， namely， the two Kavango regions (East and West)， due to the fact that these are the region's most hit with teenage pregnancies and poverty， but the project later spread to other regions that include Oshikoto， Omaheke， Erongo， Karas， Hardap and Khomas.
"We contact the life skills teachers from various schools in the regions to draw up a list of girls in their classes who come from poverty stricken households， because they work with the girls daily and know who is in need of assistance with a sanitary pad，" she said.
The packet of the reusable pads consists of five pads and the girls are given two pads with the waterproof PUL sewn in and three inlays which can be used in case of a heavy flow.
According to Gaoes the pads give a sustainable solution as they can last up to two years. "It contributes to an increase in school attendance of 15 - 25 percent and enables greater academic performance， increases confidence levels and the agency to become self-determined and is also environmentally friendly，" she added.
The only drawback to the project， she said， is the financial funding aspect. "We are unable to assist them all. This is why we are calling for support for this the project and give these girls an opportunity to excel in their education by not missing school，" she added.
Meanwhile， Gaoes said despite the drawbacks， so far none of the recipients have complained about getting rashes or an allergic reactions.
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