Kenya's Giving Free Sanitary Pads To Schoolgirls Who Can't Afford Them

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Menstruation is a natural and unavoidable part of most girls’ lives. But for many young girls in Kenya, it was a stressful inconvenience that often interferes with education and perpetuates a cycle of poverty – until now.

Young Kenyan activists have long highlighted the problem of a lack of access to sanitary pads for girls. The inability to purchase the pads prompted girls to either skip school when they had their periods or create protection out of uncomfortable materials. In response to their campaign, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an act on Wednesday, which requires the government to provide a sufficient amount of quality sanitary pads – free of charge – to state schools. 

“I feel so happy that the government…is taking the step towards making Kenya a better place for all girls,” Joyce, 14, said in a statement through Plan International, a nonprofit that works to protect vulnerable children. “Now girls will never miss school again because of their periods.” 

In Kenya, about 65 percent of women and girls can’t afford sanitary pads. The price of one package of sanitary napkins is equivalent to an unskilled worker’s daily wage. Most women need two packets per cycle, according to a report from Afri-Can Trust, which helped developed a low-cost, reusable sanitary pad. 

Girls in Kenya already faced a number of unique hurdles when it came to going to school consistently. The task of collecting water for the family, for example, typically falls on the shoulder of women and girls. Not being able to buy a basic hygiene product only compounds the issues they face.

In 2012, an average of 30 to 40 percent of girls in Kenya reported missing days of school because they didn’t have access to pads when they were menstruating, according to studies conducted by Huru International, a group that works to keep marginalized African girls in school. 

When girls regularly fall behind in school, they’re more likely to drop out, which can lead to early pregnancies or marriage and lower wages in the long run, Huru International noted in a report. 

Some menstruating girls who were desperate for protection would use whatever resources they had available to make their own pads. Some used tissue paper or old clothes, according to Plan International. One teenager said she wrapped a sock around her underwear, the BBC reported. 

Kenyatta’s decision builds upon years of progress toward making menstruation hygiene products more affordable. 

A decade ago, Kenya stopped taxing sanitary products – something the U.S. still continues to do. Since 2011, the government has been setting aside funds to distribute sanitary pads to underserved girls. It has budgeted $5 million for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, up from $4 million compared to the last fiscal year, according to the BBC. 

Management teams at schools will be responsible for buying and distributing the pads.

“This is a pioneering step, which will ensure that more girls can secure their right to a quality education,” Lennart Reinius, Plan International’s Kenya country director, said in a statement. “It also shows that when girls speak up, they can become champions of change.”

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Justin Trudeau's Socks Are On Point

Justin Trudeau knows how to stand out from the crowd.

At a NATO summit in May, amid a sea of monochrome socks in black and navy blue, the Canadian prime minister’s brightly colored footwear was unmissable.

A photograph from the day shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others huddling around Trudeau as he pulled up his pant leg to offer a better look at the multicolored pair ― and they were emblazoned with the NATO emblem

A few weeks earlier, Trudeau’s feet had made headlines when he chose to wear a pair of mismatched “Star Wars” socks to a meeting with Enda Kenny, who was then prime minister of Ireland.

The socks were a meaningful choice: The meeting was held on May 4, the date popularly known as #MayTheFourthBeWithYou, or Star Wars Day.

A post on Trudeau’s Twitter account featuring the socks quickly amassed tens of thousands of likes. “Seriously, I challenge all other leaders to be as cool as @JustinTrudeau,” wrote one impressed fan.

Trudeau’s love for cool socks has become quite the online fascination.

On Thursday, the headline of a viral Twitter moment summed it perfectly: “Trudeau’s sock game is strong.”

The proof of the pudding is in the eating… or in this case, the socks.

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Stuffed Cow Saves Toddler In 2nd-Story Fall

If you’re going to have a cow, this is the one.

A 2-year-old boy in Chelsea, Massachusetts, may owe his life to the stuffed cow that cushioned him in a fall from a second-story window on Wednesday, authorities said.

“He fell about 16 feet onto concrete. He could easily have broken bones or been very seriously injured,” Chelsea Deputy Fire Chief John Quatieri told The Boston Globe. Police Chief Brian Kyes said the toy “broke his fall.”

The boy, whose name was withheld by authorities, was bouncing on his bed Wednesday afternoon and accidentally sailed right through an open window, the Globe reported. He landed on a concrete slab in the backyard, but avoided serious injury because he had been clutching his beloved 2-foot tall stuffed cow.

The boy’s great uncle, Luis Estrada, said he was shocked when he saw the child fly out the window.

I was paralyzed,” Estrada said, according to the New York Post. “We rushed down to get him and we grabbed him, he was shaken. I thank God for everything, he was watching over us.”

The boy sustained some abrasions and a laceration on his forehead, Quatieri told reporters. He was held overnight at Massachusetts General Hospital for observation and was “doing fine” Thursday, the police chief said.

Kyes sent out a tweet showing the cow also appeared to have survived the ordeal in good shape.

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This Guy Refused To Let A Wedding Get In The Way Of His Bromance

A good bromance doesn’t end just because one bro gets married. Just ask Mitch Jolliff

Before serving as best man in Kody and Brittney Frysinger’s wedding earlier this month, Mitch made a guest appearance in the couple’s engagement photos. The viral pics ― taken by photographer Lindsey Berger and posted on the Facebook page Love What Matters ― speak a thousand words: 

Poor guy. Mitch also made an appearance in the couple’s wedding pics. The 20-year-old still wasn’t taking news of the nuptials very well:  

In an interview with HuffPost, Mitch said he couldn’t be happier for his best friend, highly public third-wheeling aside. 

“We have been friends for seven years so our families are all friends,” he said. “In my best man speech, I talked about how Kody is an amazing father to his beautiful daughter with Brittney.” 

All three of the friends live in Arlington, Ohio and are marveling at their sudden viral fame, Kody told HuffPost in an email. (The couple are currently on their honeymoon.) 

“We thought it was a big deal when it hit five thousands shares, now it has well over 100 thousand. It’s nuts!” he said. “We were all just goofing around trying to have some fun and now it’s viral.” 

To the singles out there wondering what Mitch’s relationship status is, Brittney has some bad news. 

“We’ve been asked for updates and numerous people have asked if Mitch is single, but he actually has a beautiful girlfriend!” the 22-year-old said.

A beautiful girlfriend and a beautiful bromance? What a lucky man. 

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This Mom Is Living The Dream At Her Daughter's College Orientation

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College is way more fun when you participate in extracurricular activities. Just ask Avery Leilani’s mom. 

On Tuesday, Leilani, an incoming freshman at Texas State University in San Marcos, tweeted a hilarious text she received from her mom Danielle Clay after the pair separated for a bit at orientation. 

“I made some friends. Don’t wait up!  ” Clay cheekily texted her daughter, along with a few photos of her hanging out with some football players. 

“My mom got more action than me,” Leilani said in reply to her tweet, which so far has more than 96,000 retweets. 

In an interview with HuffPost, the Houston, Texas-based teen said her mom entered the pics into a selfie competition the school held for parents. (The prize was money toward tuition.) 

“A lot of parents were trying to hide the fact that they were taking selfies with the football players in the background, but my mom went straight up to the [guys] and asked for the pics,” Leilani said. 

The mostly-shirtless players even offered up some creative direction.

“They were the ones who gave her the idea to do the action shots,” Leilani said. 

After the pics went viral, another student replied and said her mom had the same brilliant idea. Here’s her pic: 

Living the college dreams, ladies.

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Teacher Reads Children's Book Aloud And Realizes It's Her Own Love Story

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You could say preschool teacher Melanie Goldsmith’s marriage proposal was a real page-turner.

In November, Goldsmith was reading a book aloud as part of an exercise at a teachers’ meeting at CSUN Lab School in Northridge, California where she works. She quickly realized it wasn’t just any old story but rather a retelling of her love story with her boyfriend of five years Eric Hernandez, who had spent months writing, illustrating and formatting the story of their relationship into a children’s book. 

Almost instantly, Goldsmith realized what was happening and began to get choked up. So she passed the book off to one of her coworkers to continue reading. 

“She did catch on a little earlier than expected,” Hernandez told Inside Edition. “As soon as she saw the first page, she started putting together what was going on.” 

After her colleague read the sentence, “She was so surprised to learn the book was all about them, but she was even more surprised when she saw Chris walk in,” Hernandez entered the room right on cue. 

“Without her knowing, I was in the other room waiting for the right moment of the story to enter and take over reading the story,“ Hernandez explained on their wedding website. “Of course the story ultimately ended with me asking if she would marry me, and most fortunately, she said yes.”

Now the couple is set to wed on July 2. We can’t wait to see how the rest of their storybook romance unfolds. 

HuffPost reached out to the couple for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication. This story may be updated. 

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