I can't imagine what it would be like to not have my period relatively under control. I also never imagined that making reusable cloth pads could actually help anyone. When I was contacted by a volunteer from The Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation (www.luyodefo.org), I knew it was a match made in heaven!
The Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation is a non-profit, community based, non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides support to marginalized communities across the Kasese district of western Uganda. In developing countries, the issues regarding menstruation and lack of access to sanitary products are often kept silent and what should be a right of passage into womanhood is often a gateway to dropping out of school. Menstruation is a silent issue; half of adolescent girls consider it a disease and don't know how to deal with it. Most girls/ women are unable to afford sanitary napkins. The lack of feminine products and information lead to girls dropping out of school early as they have no opportunities to maintain their hygiene during menstrual periods, miss lessons and fall behind. Most often, girls face the embarrassment of blood leaking through their clothes (spotting). This lack of protection leads most girls to miss up to five days of school monthly. That is a lot of days over the course of a school year, 6 weeks!
The pad project is not just about raising attendance. It is about raising the profile of girls at home, at school, and in the community. It is about teaching them to advocate for themselves. It is about telling them to be proud, and that they have the right to be healthy and educated. The implications of this are significant. Today’s young girls will teach the next generation about puberty, sexuality, and reproductive health. The conspiracy of silence will have been broken. Through this project helping girls feel empowered, we really can create social change. Girls who feel empowered are going to ask questions and push to get their questions answered. They’re going to understand what’s happening to their bodies, and be able to make informed decisions that keep them healthy and safe.
The project is also about environment concerns. As any one can imagine a week worth of used pads damped on the dirty roads allover the villages, as there is no garbage cans for waste disposal for regular garbage pick-up, these used pads would end-up contaminating rivers and streams.
What can you do?
There are 3 main things you can do to help:
- Place a pad order at thecrazyelephantboutique.com! For every 3 pads ordered will will send a pad to the women of Uganda.
- Place an order at thecrazyelephantboutique.com for donation! Every pad that is ordered for donation will be doubled. That means if you order a pad (make sure to let me know in the message to seller) I will send 2 to help the women of Uganda.
- Go to the foundations website and get your own campaign started! (www.luyodefo.org)