Keeping a Promise
Alice Wambui is the 8th of 14 children. She excelled in school for years, working hard to achieve good grades. Then while sitting for the national exams during her final term of Primary School, her first period arrived, heralding in a new era of struggle. She now faced the challenge of managing menstruation without money to buy products, attend school regularly, and maintaining good grades. With nine other sisters, it was challenging for her mother to provide menstrual products for all of them, so Alice was often left to use whatever she could find including old rags, pieces of mattress or the pages from books. Often she experienced infections that set her further back in school. “Some boys made fun of me and this made me hate myself and want to be a boy,” she says.
Despite the challenges she faced, Alice didn’t give up on her dream of continuing her education and receiving good grades. She persisted and with encouragement along the way, she graduated from university in 2016 as “best student” with a degree in community development and social work. “After my first degree, I remembered all I had gone through as a teenage girl and promised that one day I would do something to help the lives of girls who might be suffering from lack of menstrual supplies like I had,” she says.
Alice has been pursuing this promise ever since. Not only was her 2017 Master’s thesis entitled “Investigating the Effects of Inaccessibility of Sanitary Pads to Girls Academic Performance,” but Alice also started the Smile Star’d DfG Social Enterprise in October 2018. On top of that, in April of this year, she proudly represented Days for Girls at the 2019 African Youth Summit where youth from 41 African Countries gathered to work towards the goal of having one million youth advocates making a difference in education, entrepreneurship, employment, and engagement by the year 2021.
Alice boldly approached many top political leaders to describe her work as a DfG leader. She even pushed local community leaders to include menstrual health education in schools: “I challenged leaders to come into partnership with Days for Girls and through this I was able to convince them to mentor both boys and girls, men and women on menstrual hygiene related issues.” Alice now routinely provides education to boys and girls alike and often travels over ten hours to reach some of the most rural communities in Kenya. She has also worked directly with the Honorable Susan Kihika of Nakuru County as well as Senator and the Honorable Liza Chelule the Women’s Representative for Nakuru County.
In Alice’s words, “The summit empowered me with advanced leadership skills and especially what it takes to be a servant leader.” Days for Girls is honored to have so many powerful female leaders within our network.