The Problem with Growing Up: When Menstruation means Absenteeism
Today is International Women’s Day, and we would like to start off by celebrating the many amazing women we work with here at LGTH. From the hard working grandmothers, aunts, and mothers of the children in our program, to the volunteers and staff who give up so much of their time and love to keep everything running, we are so grateful for all of you. Thank-you!
One of the biggest difficulties facing women of all ages in rural Zimbabwe is a simple yet unassailable truth: women get their periods. While it may seem like a “problem” with a simple solution, sanitary protection is too expensive for most people living in Musana, and other rural areas. Without the proper materials, women are forced to use rags, newspapers, and even bark or leaves, and because of this many girls do not attend school when they are on their periods. In fact, Unesco, the UN’s educational, scientific, and cultural department, has estimated that one in every 10 girls in Africa miss school during their period, and many of those will eventually drop out of school.
This problem is not an abstract, impersonal issue to us: When the teenaged girls in our program were asked what they most wanted, nearly every single one of them responded with “sanitary pads,” and most admitted that they had missed school during their periods, and subsequently been punished harshly by their teachers for it. Many of the girls have seen their grades suffering because of this.
Here at LGTH, we find this unacceptable, and are working hard to make a change in this area for our girls. We are currently struggling to provide enough materials for all the girls in our program, but we have plans to start a vocational sewing group to teach the girls how to make reusable pads. If you would like to help us financially in this area, please go to our Action page (click here) and specify in the comments section that your donation is to go towards the purchase of sewing machines. If you would like to help us by raising the word, please share this story with your family and friends, as well as through our Facebook page (click here).
On behalf of everyone here, thank-you for helping us to raise up the young women in our community, and celebrating women everywhere by granting them the simple dignity of sanitary protection.