Dominic Raab and Laura Murphy (left) at DFID
Kingston volunteer meets ministers after Kenya outreach
A 20-year-old volunteer from Kingston met with key ministers of state on Monday (March 9) after returning from a successful volunteer placement in Kenya.
As the Comet reported last year, Laura Murphy from Kingston volunteered with International Citizen Service (ICS) in East Africa.
Last summer she travelled to Kenya and raised awareness about sexual health, education, women’s rights and economic empowerment.
In the process she raised over £2,000 to help supply hundreds of menstrual cups to Kenyan women and girls living in the area, which includes providing young women with classes on menstrual hygiene and how to use the cups.
On Monday, she and other volunteers met with key government ministers including Foreign Secretary and Esher and Walton MP Dominic Raab, and International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Department for International Development (DFID).
“Boys and girls need to get the best education possible. However, each month many girls miss a week of school, because it is their time of the month and they can’t afford basic sanitary protection,” Laura pointed out on Monday.
“There is simply no money for tampons or sanitary towels and in any case, these are not sustainable solutions.
“Girls may try to make do with rags, leaves or bark. The risk of humiliation if they have a leak in a country where the subject of periods is still taboo forces many to simply stay at home during their time of the month.
“This can add up to 3 months of school lost per year. Lost education and lost opportunity,” she added.
Felicity Morgan, Director of ICS, praised Laura’s efforts in Kenya and since returning:
“It’s really inspiring to hear about the fantastic work Laura did on her placement to help enhance the rights and education of women and girls,” she said.
“We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits to bring about positive change to women in some of the world’s poorest communities.”
Trevelyan meanwhile congraulated Laura and the other volunteers welcomed to the DFID headquarters on Monday.
“It is a tragic waste that every day, across the world, millions of girls are unable to go to school.
“Millions of future female doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and scientists are still not able to realise their full potential.
“It was wonderful to meet so many inspiring British women and girls like Laura who are working with the UK-funded International Citizen Service to change that,” she said.