BELFAST Charitable Society at Clifton House recently played host to Days for Girls (DfG), an international enterprise set up to remove barriers to education in the developing world.

Education and feminine hygiene are two things taken for granted in the developed world, but in countries like South Sudan and Kenya, thousands of young girls are missing days of education each month as well as suffering isolation, indignity, shame, infection and even put at risk of exploitation due to the lack of understanding and access to affordable, dependable feminine hygiene during their menses.

Diane Graham, NI Chapter Lead explains, “Missing long periods of education each month is detrimental to these young women, it affects their future and has the potential to affect their country’s future. Being forced to stay at home for up to a week without basic hygiene care, shun from their community and regarded as dirty in the 21st Century is just unacceptable.

“Through training and the donation of DfG Kits, we have enabled 1.3million women and girls across six continents to remain in education and employment as well as retain their dignity and respect, with the help of these innovative kits.”

DfG Kits don’t look like traditional menstrual pads and there’s a reason for that; the bright colors camouflage staining and the absorbent liners unfold to look like a washcloth, which allows women to wash and dry them outside in the sun without causing embarrassment. All of these design choices add up to a lasting, easy-to-care-for solution.

Holding this volunteer event in Clifton House, where Mary Ann McCracken spent most of her life fighting for social justice and reform across Belfast and through some of the most turbulent years of Irish history, including the 1798 rebellion, is very pertinent.

Days for Girls was formed by Celeste Mergens after spending time at an orphanage in Nairobi and witnessing firsthand the issue women faced. Following this experience, Celeste vowed to make a difference these young girls lives.