Pretty Box Project

The Problem 

It is estimated that 20% of education is missed by school girls in Uganda due to the lack of access to sanitary care, averaging four days a month out of school.

It is a basic human right for children to have access to education. Girls are hindered in their own personal development and are more likely to fall into teenage pregnancy due to the lack of access to sanitary care which is difficult comprehend.

 Aim 

  • To empower girls with sewing skills to enable them to build confidence and sustainable. 
  • Provide quality education and a supportive community about adolescence and teenage social issues. 

The project 

In March 2018 YLN launched the Pretty Box Project.

Each Pretty Box contained an AFRIpad kit, a set of underwear, soap and an information pamphlet all at a cost of just £7 per box. This was is presented in a branded box that was used by the girls to store their products to keep it safe, clean and hidden. All of the box contents were sourced & purchased within Uganda to ensure that we would maintain effect purchasing and smooth running of the project in the future and for our beneficiaries to locate if needed. 

The Pretty Boxes were delivered to 500 beneficiary girls in the Eastern Region of Uganda, the Iganga District with a Puberty Lesson delivered to the entire school of governors, teachers and over 900 students. 

Phase 1 of the Sustainability plan was implemented on 27th March 2019.

An industrial straight stitch sewing machine, an industrial over locker, a button press machine, fabrics, sewing tools, storage and patterns were donated to St Paul’s Secondary school so that they were able to make their own sanitary pads. A workshop was held teaching 90 prefects, and 10 teachers how to make the pads. Post workshops, we formed a focus group made up of 5 teachers and 7 prefects (boys and girls selected from the workshops) whom attended a following 10 sessions with a local tailor to learn how to maintain the machines in order to respond to any technical issues with them and could effectively teach others how to make the pads. As a charity we aim to continue to supply the school with fabrics to ensure that this is continued for years to come and that we can repeat the same framework in other schools across Uganda in the future. As part of monitoring and evaluation, we will visit the school every 12 months for refresher sessions and at the beginning of the school academic year for the intake of new students. Inspired by the circular economy we are currently trying to create partnerships with fashion labels and manufacturers so that we can use their fabric off cuts (waste) to donate to the school so that they can make the pads making the project even more sustainable.

The result

In 2017, prior to implementation of the project there were 377 female students enrolled and within the year 54 dropped out.

In 2018 when the project was implemented, there were 498 female students and only 2 dropped out.

In 2019, implementation of phase 1 of the sustainability project 532 female students enrolled and none have dropped.

Not only has the rate of girls dropping out of school reduced to 0 within 2 years since the projects launch, but it has done so despite school enrolment increasing by 41%.

 2020 and 2021

With the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 and 2021 saw unprecedented times world wide and for the Pretty Box Project. Due to school closures we were unable to continue our phase 1 collaboration with St Paul’s school, however we continued to work in communities to support our beneficiaries with over 250 sanitary reusable sanitary pads donated in partnership with Afripads. Our team continued over this period to provide outreach and facilitation to all of the beneficiaries. 

THE FUTURE-2022-2024

We aim to return to schools and run community projects as of 2022 to teach in school and out of of school girls (subject to interest, boys are also welcome) skills in sewing to make their own sanitary pads but to also learn new skills with the sewing machine that will enable them to be innovative and driven by entrepreneurship, thus generating an income which can support future endeavours. 

We will continue to facilitate open dialogues in mixed communities and schools with male and female participation about menstruation and adolescence to eliminate stigmas.

By 2025, we aim to empower more than 3,000 girls from dropping out of school by providing the tools and skills enabling them to meet their menstrual needs.

 By donating as little as £7 today, you become a part of the movement to keep a girl in school for an entire year. So don’t delay!

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