Menstrual Hygiene: It’s Time for Action
Glenda Sanchez (pictured) is 11 years old and a 5th grader at José Cecilio del Valle School, in the community of La Paz, Honduras.
The Pure Water for the World (PWW) training team came to Glenda’s school to teach students about safe and healthy menstrual hygiene management.
“My mother was the first one to tell me about the topic of menstruation but did not explain it to me correctly,” Glenda shares. “Pure Water for the World came to our school to talk about menstrual hygiene management. They explained menstruation and that it is something that happens every month. They also taught us how to make washable sanitary pads.”
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 is celebrated on May 28th. This year’s theme is It’s Time For Action. Taking action is exactly what the PWW teams in Haiti and Honduras have been doing for the past several years. Training teams provide MHM education to teachers, girls, and women, empowering them with the knowledge and tools to safely and effectively manage their monthly cycles. In addition to teaching women and girls, PWW provides training to boys and men, so that they, too, can better understand what happens with a female’s body every month.
“As an organization, we saw the necessity to implement our Menstrual Hygiene Management workshop because, in our communities, the topic of menstrual hygiene was considered taboo,” shares Karla Patricia Vargas (pictured right), a Health Promoter with PWW in Honduras. “It was thought that the monthly cycle could actually cause psychological problems to girls that began to menstruate at young age. No one in the families or at schools was explaining that it is a biological, natural process and that, at some point in their lives, girls will begin this monthly cycle of bleeding.”
The principal objective of the MHM workshop is to provide women and girls with the skills and tools to stay healthy, prevent infections, and safely manage their monthly menstrual cycle. The workshop also includes discussion about teenage pregnancy prevention. The result…healthier families and girls who are empowered to stay in school and achieve an education!
“During the workshop, we explain that it is a biological, natural process and that every woman in the world is subject to it,” says Karla. “We explain why it happens, when it happens, what to expect, and which kind of materials should be used to absorb the blood safely.”
Trainers explain the different options available for purchase at a local market, such as disposable sanitary pads, as well as how the pads should be safely used and properly disposed of. The team also teaches participants how to make their own sanitary pads, since most have limited funds and little to no opportunity to purchase anything from a market.
Dilma Selenia Mendez Ordoñez (pictured left) is 11 years old and a 6th grader at José Cecilio del Valle school in La Paz, Honduras. Like Glenda, Dilma participated in a PWW training at her school.
“I don’t live with my mom but with my grandparents, because my grandparents took me when I was 8 months old. They never told me about menstruation,” Dilma says. “But, Karla from Pure Water for the World came to explain menstruation and taught us how to make sanitary pads and other things.”
Even at age 35, Prima Estella Aguilar (pictured right), is learning from PWW. She has four children, ages 18, 16, 11 and 4 (pictured). They live in the community of Fortuna Arriba.
“Karla came and explained to us that menstruation is something normal,” Prima says. “We used to use a piece of fabric [to manage blood-flow]. She [Karla] explained that there are sanitary pads that we can purchase. She also taught us how to make sanitary pads. We each made one, and when I came back home, I made another one. And, now I use them.”
Prima is now able to pass her knowledge onto her daughters, so they will, in turn, know how to safely manage their cycles and be empowered to realize their full potential!
Do you speak Spanish?
PWW Health Promoters, Karla Patricia Vargas and Oscar René Gonzalez Ventura, share (in Spanish) about menstrual hygiene trainings being held in rural Honduras.
Karla’s video is a basic overview of the trainings. WATCH
Oscar’s video talks about the importance of teaching men about menstruation. WATCH
About Menstrual Hygiene Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day Vision: To create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame, where no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.
Menstrual Hygiene Day Mission: To break the silence, raise awareness and change negative social norms surrounding MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) around the world.
Menstrual Hygiene Day, initiated in 2013 by German nonprofit WASH United, was first celebrated in 2014 as a way to begin to break the silence, raise awareness and change negative social norms around menstrual hygiene management (MHM). This internationally celebrated day also provides opportunity to engage decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyze action for MHM, at global, national and local levels.
“Poor menstrual hygiene caused by a lack of education on the issue, persisting taboos and stigma, limited access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermines the educational opportunities, health and overall social status of women and girls around the world. As a result, millions of women and girls are kept from reaching their full potential.” Click here to learn more.