Passaris Attracts Backlash Over Branded Sanitary Pads Donation [PHOTOS]

  • Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris during a session in parliament on February 13, 2020.
    Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris during a session in parliament on February 13, 2020.
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  • Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris was forced to respond after attracting backlash for donating 900 cartons of sanitary pads branded with her face on Wednesday, April 1.

    Part of the donations were from the Chinese Embassy, with others acquired through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

    The pads marked 'Not for Sale' featured an image of a smiling Passaris along with a message for the intended recipients.

    "900 cartons of quality menstrual hygiene products dispatched today so that our girls in Nairobi County can experience their menstruation in dignity and free of shame. No one should choose between a sanitary pad or meal," Passaris had announced on Wednesday, April 1, sparking various reactions.

    Some of the sanitary pads donated by Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris through her office on April 1, 2020
    Some of the sanitary pads donated by Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris through her office on April 1, 2020
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    A majority of those who responded online questioned whether it was necessary to have the pads branded with her image.

    "It was donated through your office not by you...Why your picture? Your position is temporary but the donation should not be associated with you but your office...next time think long term," advised Sital Chandaria.

    "The cash she wasted branding the products can purchase another bunch," argued one Musyoka.

    The lawmaker, however, remained unfazed as she hit back, insisting that she was only executing her mandate as she accused Kenyans online of always seeking to stir up controversy where there was none.

    She further asserted that many of the recipients appreciated her gesture, predicting that some would cut out and keep the image of her.

    "I wonder why the ballot paper had my name and my image when I sought to be elected to office? Let me guess. So that after elections I drop my image and my name and identify as an office not a person? Distributed by the Nairobi Women Rep's Office??? Who???

    "Politics is and has always been a popularity contest. That's a given. But the popularity has and should be issue-based. The issue here is the need for our girls in the informal settlements to access sanitary towels during this period when they are at home.

    "It's meant for my girls in the informal settlements and trust me they are happy to have the picture; and the message from their leader and mentor. The mere fact that I can stick my picture on a sanitary towel packet helps reduce period shame & stigma. Many will cut it out & keep it," she argued.

    Passaris was backed by some of her supporters who urged Kenyans to simply be grateful for the donations.

    Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris addresses a press briefing as she dispatched sanitary pads in Nairobi on April 1, 2020
    Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris displays branded sanitary pads meant for donation at a press briefing in Nairobi on April 1, 2020
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    "What's so wrong about her putting her photo there? Where are the ones you have donated without images?" posed one Muthoni.