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Women MPs protest over suicide of schoolgirl shamed for menstruation

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Over 10 women lawmakers on Wednesday flocked the Ministry of Education office after it emerged that a school girl in Konoin committed suicide because she was shamed for menstruation.

The MPs demanded that the ministry take action on the female teacher accused of publicly ridiculing Jackline Chepngeno for soiling her clothes with her periods.

“Together with fellow Women MPs, we’ve laid siege at the Ministry of Education in protest of the 14 year old girl who committed suicide,” Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris said.

Passaris and other lawmakers including Gathoni Wamuchomba (Kiambu), Wangui Ngirici (Kirinyaga) and Florence Chepng’etich Koskey (Kericho) later held a meeting with Education CS George Magoha.

It is alleged that the Class Six pupil from Kabiangek primary school in Konoin was mocked and told to go stand outside class.

Last Friday, the girl was found hanging from a tree with the mother Beatrice Chepkurui reporting that her daughter had confided in her that she felt ashamed after the incident.

According to her, it was the first time that the girl had had her periods and she had no sanitary pads to use.

Parents stormed the school on Tuesday this week in protest but five of them were later arrested by police for causing disturbance in a learning institution.

Bomet County Director of Education Indiatsi Mabale however denied the reports insisting that the girl had quarelled with her parents.

“It’s such a shame to society when women undergo ridicule over a process that they have no control over,” the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) said on Wednesday.

Education CS George Magoha later released a statement to newsrooms affirming that girls menstrual cycle should not disrupt their education.

Prof Magoha said the government will streamline structures to provide sanitary pads to school girls.

In May this year, Citizen TV reported that the free sanitary pads distribution program initiated by the government in 2011 has hit a snag.

Despite a budgetary allocation of Ksh.470million in the 2017/2018 budget, several schools reported that the last time they received free pads was in June last year.

Teachers interviewed said until a holistic plan is put in place, menstrual flow will continue to create a pool of inequality where girls will drown in shame.

In August Prof. Magoha again raised concern over the issue saying: “Regrettably, the money to purchase these products is not under my control but I will still continue to go and check and I will shout about it.”

The free sanitary pads distribution program was moved from the Education ministry in February last year to the Gender docket under CS Margaret Kobia.






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