Perse student plans to cut period poverty after Uganda trip
Jazzie Heslop (Upper Sixth) has been inspired to continue helping the battle against period poverty after visiting a school in Uganda.
She recently spent a week in Entebbe and met a group of around 30 girls from the city’s Early Learning School, educating them on the menstrual cycle and giving advice on sanitary products and hygiene.
Jazzie also gave the girls ‘period packs’ with contributions donated by the Perse community, including underwear, Vaseline, sanitary pads, flannels, soap and roll-on deodorants.
Having researched the issues facing girls in the African country, Jazzie found out how she could make a practical difference from her friend Hannah Nunn, who runs community interest company Kickstart Coffee, with all profits supporting the Early Learning School.
She was humbled by meeting the girls at the school and explained how difficult life is for them regarding period poverty having heard their stories.
Jazzie said: “We handed out the packs and the smiles on the girls’ faces was incredible to see. They were just so over the moon.
“Some of them told me they used rags which they would need to go and hand wash, but then they didn’t have soap to wash their hands with afterwards.
“Other girls didn’t even have rags, so the reason why there are so many girls missing school is because they have to build a pile of sand and sit on it for however long their period lasts.”
Jazzie added that visiting Uganda had given her a new perspective on life.
She said: “It’s quite hard to put into words and until you’ve experienced it yourself, you’re never going to fully understand what it’s like there.
“Just seeing how happy the kids are despite having so little really impacted me and one of the things I’ve learned is to be grateful for the simple things we have.
“Many kids only eat during the week because they can’t afford meals outside of the free meals provided by the school.
“We do have the money to be able to afford these simple things and you wouldn’t realise how necessary they are unless they were taken away from you.”
As such, Jazzie, who plans to return to Uganda during her gap year, has launched her own charity scheme, Crimson Tide, to ensure girls at the Early Learning School receive ongoing period-related support.
She is selling handmade items sourced from Ugandan craft markets during her trip, such as bags, bracelets and bowls, at Christmas fairs and online to raise funds for more period packs.
Hear more about Jazzie’s reflections on her visit to Uganda in our latest Perse podcast, available via Apple, Spotify and most other platforms. If you are unable to access via these platforms, please listen here.