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