Zonta Club of Colombo II uplifts menstrual health and hygiene awareness
Period poverty in Sri Lanka refers to inadequate financial resources, cultural stigma and limited menstrual hygiene resources that affect the management of menstruation.
Realizing that 60-70% of the country's menstruating population, which is approximately 5.7 million women and girls, lack access to affordable feminine hygiene products and many young girls do not attend school during their period, the Zonta Club of Colombo II held various awareness presentations addressing period poverty awareness at four rural schools in the Sooriyawewa and Kandy Districts targeting girls between the ages of 10 and 17. More than 1,000 young and curious girls attended the program.
The topics covered were:
- The reproductive system.
- How to maintain good menstrual health and hygiene products.
- How to hygienically use cloth sanitary napkins is due to the unaffordability of disposable sanitary napkins.
- Debunking myths surrounding menstrual health.
These topics are not covered in their school curriculum and are taboo subjects at home. As shyness would prevent them from asking questions, slips of paper were given out to the girls, which was done anonymously and ensured that all their doubts were clarified. Many of the attendees asked questions such as, "What is a period?", How is a baby born?", "How are boys born inside a female womb?" and more.
The club achieved its goal to empower these young girls by creating an awareness of menstruation and other associated issues by dispelling the myths that are associated with periods and helping them with some of the trauma they experience during their periods.