It’s September! For many of us, that means back to school for our children, our siblings, or ourselves. But for 129 million girls around the world, September doesn’t mean they’ll be getting to know a new teacher or memorizing a new bus route, because they won’t be going back to school this year.
Globally, nine in ten girls complete their primary education (equivalent to elementary school in the US), but only three in four complete their lower secondary education (US middle school or junior high equivalent.) There are as many as a dozen reasons that girls are kept out of school around the world. Saalt works year-round to tackle two of these through our impact program: lack of funding to send girls to school and lack of period care and proper sanitation in schools. Every September, we take a moment to focus on the challenge of getting - and keeping - girls in school.
Saalt is dedicating the month of September to sending girls back to school, ready to take on whatever the year throws at them. We’re funding the school fees of 30 girls every day during the month of September and donating 30 Saalt Cups a day to ensure that lack of access to period care isn’t a barrier to getting a great education.
Periods should end sentences, not school days.
If you got your period today, but you didn’t have access to period care, would you go to school? To work? Each month, 500 million women and girls around the world are faced with this decision.
Period poverty impacts women and girls in nearly every country around the globe, but in some regions the issue of period poverty is more pervasive than others. For example, in Chad and the Central African Republic, one in three girls said they were missing out on activities like school, work, and socializing because of their periods. 86% of girls in Kenya and 46% of girls in Nepal missed school in the past 12 months because of their period. In many cases, students miss so much school that they fall too far behind and ultimately drop out.
While it is not the only barrier to educational access, period poverty clearly contributes to girls disproportionately missing school in many countries. Some families are choosing between buying period care products for their daughters or paying for her school supplies - and we know both are vital to her success.
We know we have the tools to create change. Access to period care help keep girls in school, breaking the cycle of poverty for generations:
One study showed that 96.8% of school-aged girls in Ghana felt "more confident" while using clean period products during their period and 98.4% felt better able to concentrate at school. School attendance increased by 17% in Uganda among girls who received period care products.
We take a holistic approach to sustainable period care by supporting an environment where new cup users feel educated and empowered to adopt better long-term menstrual hygiene solutions, whether that means providing menstrual health education, or greater access to sanitation facilities like latrines and clean water sources. Throughout the month of September, Saalt is funding 1,510 educational scholarships for girls in rural Togo and Nepal, in partnership with Style Her Empowered and HER International.
We know that investing in the education of women and girls is good for economies, governments, and local communities. Completing one year of additional schooling leads to as much as 25% higher wages for that woman later in life; wages that she is likely to invest back into her family and community.
Thank you. Every purchase you make at Saalt is a step toward educational access for a girl or woman. Thanks to you, our amazing Saalt community, we have been able to donate over 60,000 Saalt Cups and fund 373,000 days in school in just five years.
Thank you for (period) caring.
Updated: September 20, 2023