Breaking barriers in menstrual health
Posted on May 29, 2019 under News
Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated this week (28 May) and we were reminded that this is a key area where we seek to bring fullness of life to girls and women.
Empowering females across Nepal is an important part of our work at UMN. We work in districts across the country doing menstrual hygiene management training for young girls and mother's groups – but even more than that, we work to break barriers in society that hide menstruation and can have negative impacts on female health. We hope you are encouraged by this story of a girl named Hira Sharma:
"Menstruation used to be embarrassing and cause Hira anxiety. But not anymore. Today, thanks to UMN and partner Christian Society Development Campaign (CSDC), Hira realises menstruation is an important part of life and she has the confidence to educate others.
Hira is from Rukum District and had many misunderstandings about menstruation. When she experienced menstruation-related pain she felt uncomfortable sharing it with anyone and this led to anxiety. She felt embarrassed to talk with family or teachers about her questions and struggles.
When Hira was in grade 9 she received Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) training from UMN and partner CSDC. This changed everything.
She learned all about menstruation – what it is, how to keep hygienic, how to manage pain and the importance of nutrition. She also got Improved Washable Pad training and it has made her periods more comfortable.
Hira's perspective has changed and she doesn't feel ashamed anymore. "Menstruation is a healthy and normal phenomenon in a girl's life," says Hira. She's started using her new knowledge to help others, educating peers and friends about menstrual health and ARSH issues. She encourages girls to speak when problems arise related to their sexual and reproductive health."
Hira is one of many of the girls that we've helped through our work in menstrual health in Nepal. We're privileged to get to walk alongside girls like her and we are inspired by the way she's used what she's learned to help others too.
*Hira is pictured on the right in the photograph.