MY PERIOD SHOULD NOT BE A BURDEN

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Posted May 15, 2017 from Cameroon

I salute the courage of girls within rural communities like the one in which I work for what they go through in the area of menstrual hygiene and management

It is often said ignorance is bliss which I believe is an expression which best describe this issue in my community. A girl of about 20 years of age came to my office to express her worry to me. She said “big sis I have a problem concerning being responsible. I have been educated on the importance of menstrual hygiene and the ills of transactional sex which I appreciate so much. My problem now is to manage my monthly flow”

This statement set my mind working and when I asked her why, she said “I can’t afford $3 monthly to buy sanitary napkins. Furthermore using rewashable sanitary napkins is so inconveniencing because you have to wash your own blood which at times is nauseating, wait for everybody to leave the compound before you wash and dry outside for them not to see, you lack detergent and/or bleach to do proper washing or you can’t press the sanitary napkins to avoid infections and many more. I feel like dying or hiding myself all day when I have my period”. She when further to say “my parents have never asked me whether am menstruating or not even since my first period 7 years ago”

After my interaction with this girl I started wondering to myself why the situation should be like this. I tried to remember my own days as a young girl where girls used pieces of old, dirty and smelly clothes, or they used foam from old abandoned mattresses full of urine. It then occurred to me that times have changed since “I don’t think” girls in this era still use those things mentioned above.

Yes times have changed!!!!. My question is how much change has been recorded and how well has it better the situation of a young girl within rural communities? We have organizations within my community which have done quite much to educate the girls on menstrual hygiene and management with resounding success in drawing the community’s attention to its importance. Where I feel there is still work to be done is the management part.

How can a rural girl who still feels stigma and lacks resources be able to manage menstruation properly? I strongly uphold that teaching girls menstrual hygiene and providing rewashable sanitary napkins for them is just a part of the holistic approach to make menstrual hygiene and management comfortable and convenient for all

I envision a society where in menstrual hygiene and management encompasses body care and use of sanitary napkins to socio-economic empowerment and breaking of social norms and taboos which mystify and stigmatize menstruation. The red blood gives life why then make us ashamed of it

How to Get Involved

In your communities stop stigma

This story was submitted in response to Period Talk.

Comments 4

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bridggyella
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Hello Sally,

Being a women is the greatest gift ever, We owe no one an apology for our "Menstrual routine"

There are a number of women who are not properly educated on the women cycle. When they are properly educated on menstrual hygiene and Management they will be more confident and comfortable during their cycle.

I totally agree with you that teaching girls menstrual hygiene and providing re-washable sanitary napkins for them is just a part of the holistic approach to make menstrual hygiene and management comfortable and convenient for all.

Thank you for sharing, it was a good read for me.

I look forward to reading more from you.

Cheers!

Bridggyella

Sally maforchi Mboumien
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Hello sis truly we owe no one apology for our monthly routine. i agree with you on this too "There are a number of women who are not properly educated on the women cycle. When they are properly educated on menstrual hygiene and Management they will be more confident and comfortable during their cycle." I hope the holistic approach to solving this societal issue be adopted soonest

Lisa Anderson
May 17, 2017
May 17, 2017

Dear Masalien,

You write so beautifully about the topic of menstruation! You're so right that we should make menstrual hygiene and management comfortable and convenient for all -- education and supplies such as reusable, washable pads are only one piece of the holistic puzzle. I especially love your line, "The red blood gives life why then make us ashamed of it."

Warm regards,

Lisa

Sally maforchi Mboumien
May 17, 2017
May 17, 2017

Thanks Lisa for the compliment and also the acknowledgement that period matters need a holistic approach in addressing it.

In sisterhood