VPM has started a project; The Vulnerable Women Pads project – to reach out to poor and vulnerable girls and women in Korogocho with sanitary pads who cannot afford to buy them because of the effects of COVID 19. Businesses were closed down leaving the families with no income at all to the point those mothers and girls cannot afford to buy pads every month. VPM seeks to improve the dignity of socially vulnerable and economically underprivileged girls and women besides empowering them with skills. When we closed our school sessions, we discovered needy ladies came to our office looking for both food and sanitary pads openly. These ladies used to sell whatever for a little profit on Korogocho streets to make a living and buy all necessities including food and pads, but COVID 19 ruined all sorts of income and their businesses leaving them completely hopeless.
Some of the vulnerable girls and women confided in our staff that they have to sleep with motor cycle riders (commonly known as bodaboda) in order to get some money to buy sanitary pads, secretly known as “sex for pads”. VPM had to pray and seek God’s guidance and later sought to start this project (The vulnerable women pads project) to reach out to these vulnerable women and girls with counseling, seminars and a few pads each month.
This has been a time bomb because it was undertones between women and girls in desperate need of pads and food for their children, but when it came out through VPM, we realized how heavy and real the problem was affecting women and mothers psychologically and economically a problem brought by effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The VPM volunteers reach out to the needy school girls who fail to attend classes for a week or so due to periods that come when they cannot afford to buy sanitary pads. These girls are invited to our church for seminars covering sex education, reproductive health, hygiene and family planning for the women. This helps to educate families on the number of children they can have and reproductive knowledge to the girls. VPM staffs are the teachers of these seminars before sanitary pads are distributed, bread and foodstuff for street children and mothers who are not a part of those who benefit with our daily feeding programme. There is an outcry from the poor families from the slums of Korogocho for more sanitary pads for girls and women as the numbers are growing each month beyond VPMs financial abilities. Street children too need more ½ a loaf of bread to put in their empty stomachs. We would like to appeal to all our supporters to stretch their merciful hands towards supporting the vulnerable women pads project and the Bread for children project of Korogocho.
When VPM started this project, we first distributed 148 pieces of sanitary pads but now every month, we distribute over 200 sanitary pads each month to the very needy women and girls and they are not enough. We also distribute 360 loaves of bread to the Bread for children project, to street children of Korogocho every week. The hunger at dumpsite of Korogocho where street children and families scavenged for valuables was brought by acute shortage of lorries to bring rubbish from hotels in town.
This is also another economic problem brought from top (the rich) to bottom (the poor) where Korogocho families benefited from the functions of hotels and other industries that stopped operating because of the COVID 19 pandemic because of the shortage of bread and foodstuff.
We are forced to let children share the bread for it to be enough. We reach out to the starving families and street children every week with; 50 kgs of sugar, 25kgs of rice, 36 pieces of bar soap, 50 kgs maize floor and 22 litres cooking oil.