I spent June and July of 2011 with ZanaAfrica, an organization that works to empower girls in Kibera slum, Nairobi with a surprising tool: sanitary pads. I may not have understood the burden of menstruation to women living in poverty at the beginning of my trip, but I quickly learned that even something as natural as a monthly period is limiting the potential of impoverished girls all over the world. Luckily, ZanaAfrica is working to stop this.

These girls have bright futures ahead of them.

During my time with ZanaA, I traveled with field agents to schools in Kibera where they distributed sanitary pads and held monthly EmpowerNet lessons to teach computer skills and discuss important topics like self esteem, sex education, and basic health and hygiene.  Spending time in Kibera was often overwhelming and frustrating, but I was moved to find that so many intelligent, motivated girls are able to stay in school for the entire month because of the help they’re getting from ZanaA.

ZanaA is communicating the love of God through actions—they show girls that they are treasured, valuable young women and not burdens. These girls have so much to tell the world. Feel free to read their blogs and listen to this song they want to share.

Stay Safe!

After a brief meeting with Zana Africa in Nairobi, “stay safe” is a request that I don’t want to follow…

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Empowerment to EmpowerNet

How nine little laptops are connecting the girls of Kibera slum to the world.

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Photo Gallery: Girl Power in Kibera

See how Zana Africa is helping unleash the potential of girls in Kibera slum with computers and sanitary pads

Click here to see this photo gallery…

Men Who Fight for Women

Men talking about pads? Read why we’re never really “out of place” in the fight for social justice.

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An Education in Education: Part I

My experience as a Kenyan high schooler (aka my most frustrating day of school ever).

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An Education in Education: Part II

Day 2 of Kenyan high school: a refreshing look at what’s here instead of what’s missing.

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Photo Gallery: The Future of Kenya Speaks

Read what ZanaA students have to say about themselves and the future—things are looking bright!

Click here to see this photo gallery…

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About the Author: Laura is a journalism fellow with World Next Door. She graduated from the University of Arizona, Tucson with a degree in Animal Sciences and a minor in Spanish. She is constantly learning, making friends, dancing, and trying to understand her role in alleviating the suffering of others. Laura also attracts a lot of awkward situations.

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