Ami Robb hopes to raise £1500 for a Ugandan charity that provides sanitary products for school aged girls. She has visited the “beautiful but heartbreaking” country three times already and is planning another trip out there in 2018 to help the Together Alive health initiative (TAHI), which distributes reusable kits that are manufactured by a social enterprise employing 150 women.
Her next visit in spring will be at her own expense and she will be involved in delivering the kits alongside health sessions to increase knowledge and dispel unhelpful myths.
Ami, who is from Kirkcudbright, was inspired to help after hearing that many girls in Uganda avoid going to school or drop out altogether because they don’t have access to tampons and sanitary towels. And she was especially shocked to find out that girls were improvising with materials that were not always comfortable or hygienic and that there was a lot of misinformation surrounding menstrual health. She said: “I couldn’t believe the figures. Around 20 per cent of the school year is missed because of something most of us in the UK take for granted. That’s why I’m working with a Ugandan charity to help change this for over 500 young girls.”
Before going out in June this year, she arranged to visit the Afripads headquarters in Kampala and bought 50 of their kits: “I donated some of these to the senior girls while visiting Good Hope Primary School where an Australian friend had raised funds to build brick classrooms, a toilet block and water storage and I had visited before. I was then looking for an organisation that I could possibly work with that was not only going to distribute the remaining kits but also deliver menstrual health management sessions while doing so. I was introduced to Charles Tumwebaze, co-founder and director of Together Alive Health Initiative.”
Explaining more about why she got involved and what she’s planning next, the mum-of-three said: “Although my husband and I have personally donated to causes in Uganda before and continue to support a friend’s young brother by paying his secondary school fees, this is the first time I have actively fundraised. I have a few ideas to raise more funds before returning in the spring of 2018 for a 6-8 week visit to work alongside TAHI. I will be paying my own flights and expenses so every penny donated will go to buying Afripad kits.”
And she is using her membership of the region’s Feral Choir to promote the charity’s work. Audiences at their forthcoming concerts in Dumfries, Dalry, Twynholm and Kirkpatrick Durham this weekend will be able to contribute to the cause.
Ami added: “Studies show that school attendance improves when girls receive these kits, which cost under £3.50 each. A little really does go a long way.”
See www.feralchoir.co.uk/news/for more information.