The following article about a schoolgirl’s suicide after period shaming by a teacher is being reposted from the Kenyan website Jamii Forums. We aren’t able to confirm its accuracy but we believe it is very likely to be true.
Schoolgirl Suicide After Period Shaming
The Kenyan Police Force is conducting an investigation into an incident that led to a 14-year-old student committing suicide several hours after starting her period while in school, on Friday September 6, 2019.
Jackline Chepngeno’s mother, Beatrice Chepkurui Koech said her daughter had been verbally abused by a female teacher at Kabiangek Primary after the blood stained her clothes in the classroom.
“She had nothing to use to stop the blood. When blood appeared her dress, she was ordered to leave the classroom and stand outside” said the mother.
A group of parents marched outside the school and closed the road to the school, demanding that the teacher be questioned, before being dispersed by the security forces that used tear gas.
After the incident Jackline Chepngeno returned home at 4.30am, where after talking to her mother, the parent told her to fetch water from the river, clean herself, and go to school. However the young woman used the time to go up the river and hanged herself to death.
In 2017 the Kenyan government passed a law aimed at providing free towels for all needy primary school students. Currently, the Kenya parliamentary committee is investigating to find out why the free program which costs the government about £3,000,000 a year is not implemented in all schools.
Schoolgirl’s Suicide After Period Shaming – Project Kidogo’s Reply
Although we don’t know the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident, we know from our colleagues in Tanzania that period shaming is very common in schools in East Africa, so we believe that there could be a lot of truth to this post. In a school we visited with 80 female pupils (not all of them have started their periods), there are around 4 absent every day due to not having pads – you can read about it here.
The pupils will stay off school when they know their menstrual cycle is due, to avoid the embarrassment of staining their school uniform. Yes, the issue exists all around the world, but in developing countries most pupils have access to tissues to see them through until they can find something, and usually enough money to buy at least budget disposables, or access to information on making reusables (such as the Precious Star Pads channel on YouTube). We hope to avoid problems by making and distributing pads across rural areas in Tanzania and each kit costs us just £4 and lasts 10 years. You can donate here (click) or by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org