YESS-Girls: The pad makers of Uganda

14 مايو 2018
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So far they have helped 1860 girls, 200 boys and 10 teachers as part of the project.

For many Ugandan girls their periods arrive as a complete surprise, without any knowledge or supplies to manage it. 

But Girl Guides, involved with a project called YESS-Girls, are equipping young women with the skills to safely manage this time of the month.

In central Uganda, where YESS-Girls operate, young women have very little knowledge about periods. There are also poor bathroom facilities and many resort to unhygienic methods of capturing blood. 

YESSS-Girls go into schools and teach girls about menstruation and how to make easy reusable pads. This is a sustainable and environmentally friendly option, for girls to make with local materials, which means they don’t have to purchase sanitary items. 

The group also instruct boys and teachers to help support girls.

Uganda has many cultural misconceptions around periods YESS-Girls want change, like a belief blood is bad. Some believe women should not cook or venture into the central trading areas of town or cities while menstruating. 

Other myths include if a menstruating girl carries a new-born baby the infant will breakout in a rash and the umbilical cord will not dry. Collecting cuttings from a plant for herbal medicine will cause the plant to dry and fruit trees will be attacked by pests if climbed by a menstruating girl. Similarly if a dog finds a girl's sanitary towel it is believed the girl will become barren.

Previously periods have been called omwezi, meaning moon or ensoga, meaning an issue people don’t want to talk about.

But the YESS-Girls explain how menstruation is natural and import for having children.

So far they have helped 1860 girls, 200 boys and 10 teachers as part of the project. They are working to extend their reach beyond schools and into the wider community with workshops for older people.

As a result the group say girls experienced a better quality of life after the course and using their reusable pads.

  • YESS-Girls Uganda 1
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