Thanks to our partner, Days for Girls, and a fellow Congo medical ministry 300 washable menstrual kits are on their way to us in a shipping container. They will invaluable to 300 local girls of Mahagi Territory, DRC.
What is the significance of these kits?
We often get questions from women wondering what local Mahagi women use for hygiene when sanitary pads and tampons are not available or are too expensive. May be some of you are thinking back to the days when rags were still used and assuming that’s the case. For most of the women in the rural villages we reach, owning two pairs of clothes is a novelty. Needless to say, they won’t be using their clothes as rags. So what do they use? Girls use leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, rocks, anything they can find . . .
As you can imagine, this is not the best health practice! However, this is not all that is affected by lack of access to sanitary products. It results in days (think five days out of a month) off from school. Now, if you’re thinking “five days off a month doesn’t sound too bad!”, consider what it means for societal development in these areas. Here’s a quote from Days for Girls website: “[Girls] miss up to 2 months of school every year. It turns out this issue is a surprising but instrumental key to social change for women all over the world. The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.”
Menstruating without hygiene wear also means days not leaving the home. It means girls being labeled as “women” and being married off, or targeted for sexual abuse. It means days without vital income.Those who try to go about their tasks know shame when the blood seeps through.
For all these reasons, we are excited that these kits are on their way. We are also excited about the opportunity to teach the girls about health, hygiene and safety.
Thank you Days for Girls for your hard work to get these kits where they are most needed!
What’s in each kit (from DFG):
- 1 Drawstring bag so she can carry her bag to school. Comfort, style and durability matter because this will be an accessory of hers for up to 3 years.
- 2 Moisture barrier shields These hold liners comfortably in place while stopping leaks
- 1 Travel-sized Soap Travel-sized to save transport weight. Distributing orgs can provide additional soap access in-country.
- 1 visual instruction sheet
- 1 washcloth – Useful and a great hygiene dialogue starter too!
- 2 pairs of panties (Girls size 10 – 14)
- 8 absorbent tri-fold pads Soft flannel liners are super absorbent when folded in three and can be layered for extra coverage. Unfolded they are square so they dry fast and wash with very little water, AND girls can dry them without risking taboos
- 2 Ziploc freezer bags Effective for transporting soiled items and soaking and laundering items with very little water. Why Ziploc brand freezer bags? They are most durable