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It was a day before St. Valentine’s day and everyone in Nairobi was either making plans or hoping that someone else was making plans for them. That is the day that Pad Heaven together with the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) decided to make a difference in the lives of over 200 girls at the Shadrack Kimale Primary School in Ngumo.

Pad Heaven and BAKE had been running the #GiftAGirl campaign online 2 weeks before, to create awareness on the need to keep girls in school by providing them with sanitary towels. This initiative will enable 173 girls in Shadrack Kimelel Primary school to get a year ‘s supply of sanitary pads and undergarments to reduce absenteeism from school. At the same time it while educate them on women’s reproductive health.

The Online campaign was carried out by BAKE who mobilised bloggers and Social Media influencers to create awareness about the campaign and encourage Kenyans to donate.

The team at Pad Heaven spent the better part of Thursday 12th night packing the over 180 gifts bags which contained of a year supply of sanitary pads, 3 pairs of undergarments, a booklet on Menstrual Health, a bar of chocolate, biscuits, a rose flower and a customised card with a message to empower the girls. The Pad Heaven & BAKE team was made up of Florence Kamaitha (Co-Founder Pad Heaven), Pauline Muthoni and Charlene Migwe from Pad Heaven and James Wamathai, Jane Muthoni, Kennedy Kachwanya and Njeri Wangari from BAKE. We were also joined by our friends Zack Mukewa, Kevin Mbuthia, Rony Gicharu and Evans Muriu.

We arrived at the Primary school at 2pm where we were introduced to the teaching staff for the upper classes (Class 7 & 8). We were soon ushered to the hall where the girls were excitedly waiting for us. After the introductions, we started the days program with talks on puberty, menstruation and self esteem given by Njeri Wangari, Kamaitha and Pauline respectively.

Pauline Wanja, an alumni of the school took the floor soon after the interactive session on reproductive health to give her story of triumph despite the many hardships she faced coming from a poor neighborliness in Kibera and schooling through scholarships. Pauline is now a lawyer working with Future First Kenya. Her story of growing up in the slums, struggling to take herself through school amidst pressures especially when she reached puberty was such an encouragement to the young girls and they were able to catch a glimpse of what they can be if they are determined in life. Pauline pledged to sponsor the girl with the best marks in the 2015 exams through high school. This was met with much applause from the girls who assured her that they would not disappoint her.

The school headmistress, Mrs. Mary Mukasa came in just in time for our closing and her remarks were to thank our team for the initiative and a challenge to the girls not to fail us.

As the girls queued up ready to receive the goodies, Pauline cautioned them on the significance of a flower and its symbolism to the life of a girl. On a light note, she warned them not to let any boy deceive them with roses and chocolate over Valentines as they would get a rose flower and some chocolates to celebrate the day.

As we left the school, the girls and the teaching staff could not hide their joy and gratitude to us for choosing to give such gifts.

Check out the twitter Hashtag #GiftAGirl for more updates .