Read how girls are changing perceptions and educating girls and boys on menstruation.
Ugandan Case Study: Yes!! Girls can manage their period healthily
The Pad Makers of Uganda
In central Uganda young women have very little knowledge about periods and there are many cultural misconceptions, like a belief that blood is bad and that if a dog finds a girl’s sanitary towel the girl will become barren. Some believe women should not cook or go into the town or city centre while menstruating. There are poor bathroom facilities and many resort to unhygienic methods to manage their monthly cycle.
The YESS Girls want to change this. The participants go into schools and communities; and teach girls about menstruation and how to make easy reusable pads from local materials. They are environmentally friendly and free.
They also talk to boys and teachers about how they can support girls. Previously periods have been called ‘ensoga’, meaning an issue people don’t want to talk about. But the YESS-Girls explain how menstruation is natural and important for having children.
They are now looking to engage the wider community by running workshops for older people.
The Menstrual Hygiene Advocate: Nepalese Girl Scout, Nirmala Shrestha
Nirmala is a Girl Scout from Nepal who helps to provide education and sanitary supplies to girls and women in remote communities.
Her home is a hilly, remote area in central Nepal. It backs onto China and was badly affected by the earthquakes.
“There is much mythology around periods and it dictates the way women and girls are treated. When girls are [on their] periods they face different problems,” she says. “Girl’s aren’t allowed in the kitchen. They are not allowed to touch any fruit or plants.”
Not being allowed to step into a kitchen means many do not eat properly. They might even be expected to sleep alone, often outside their homes, until they finished bleeding.
Nirmala wants to challenge these barriers by distributing sanitary wear and basic sexual education. She said women often suffer during their periods but she wants to help them feel free. She also helps to run a public health education programme that aims to challenge negative attitudes around menstruation.
“Our goal is to give women sexual health education and make eco-friendly sanitary pads which are sustainable and hygienic to help them manage their periods; giving women and girls back dignity and freedom.”
Reboot Thoughts on Menstruation: the Social Media campaign by Sonakhi Rumi
Bharat Scouts and Guides
Sonakhi shared her reasons on why she launched her campaign and the effect it has had in her blog post ‘Every Day is Menstrual Heath Day’.