Not having sanitary supplies means days without school and not leaving their houses/hostels.
It also means girls using unhealthy materials, cloth, paper, leaves, mattress stuffing, corn cobs, or anything they think can be used to manage the menses.
Centre for Youth and Development is excited to share the progress of our #demstfyingperiods initiative we are implementing in Mzimba, Malawi. We are working to bring reusable sustainable menstrual hygiene kits to girls and women, with the help of the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). These kits, currently made by volunteers in USA, help to reduce missed school days during monthly periods.
In October 2019, we distributed Feminine Hygiene kits at Engucwini Community Day Secondary School, reaching out to 60 girls. In January 2020, we reached out to 222 Girls at Ezondweni Community Day Secondary School. And, this is just the beginning, friends! Prior to distributing the kits, our team gave a talk to girls on basic female anatomy, physiology of the menstrual cycle, menstrual hygiene, and then, the girls were introduced to the Feminine Hygiene Kit, its use and care.
Girls were very excited to receive the kits and felt they would make a big difference in their lives.
“Thank you so much for the kits, these will make a very big difference in the lives of the girls in our school. Most of the girls can’t afford pads because of high costs. They use old cloth instead, but the problem is that they are too shy to wash this and hang it out to dry which is not safe for their health,” Ngwira, Female Teacher at Ezondweni CDSS, shared.
The team also conducted career guidance and role modelling to inspire the girls to work hard in school and to complete their education. In the spirit of integration with other projects we are implementing, Doreen Luhanga, ICT Project Administrator talked about “a career in ICT”, herself being a graduate of Computer Engineering.
The Centre for Youth and Development is on its way to setting up a Tailoring Social Enterprise in Mzuzu, Malawi that will also be producing kits, giving girls a chance to start their own businesses while helping other women. All this is thanks to Tanya Weaver and American Foundation for Children with AIDS who donated sewing machines and start up cloth material. To get everything rolling, though, we are in need of further support to rent premises for the tailoring shop.
One kit will supply one girl or woman with 3 years of sustainable, reusable menstrual hygiene supplies. Amazing!