Female refugees get sanitary pads to address menstrual hygiene

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[Rhino Camp, Uganda, TCT] -- South Sudanese refugee women and girls in Uganda’s Rhino Camp settlement get skills and information to manage menstrual hygiene. The project that started last month in OFUA zone with the distribution of 500 assorted menstrual hygiene management (MHM) kits is funded by an American charity organization and implemented by the Community Development Centre (CDC).

The pilot project offers kits that include, reusable sanitary pads with a bag, one bar of soap, and a bucket per person. it offers young women and girls to learn solutions to the issues related to their bodies and to address challenges of menstrual hygiene.

According to Sebit Martin, the Executive Director of CDC, the initiative aims at restoring the dignity of young women by providing safe and consistent access to menstrual hygiene solutions to vulnerable female refugees of reproductive age living in Rhino Camp Settlement. “The distribution was paramount in maintaining hygiene among the refugee women and girls. This would go a long way in helping the women,” He stressed.

A survey carried out by the organization in the settlement last year, showed ‘disturbing challenges’ that many women and girls face in managing menstruation.

“Pride of any girl or woman lies in her health. Lack of sanitary pads has forced many young girls to drop out of school because they could not bear the shame they go through,” the survey read.

During the joint distribution, the team first mentors girls and women on basic training in MHM) and reusable sanitary products.

CDC executive director said the pilot project is a relief for vulnerable refugee women and girls.

According to Fiona Rushbrook, Co-Head of Mission for this program, this project underscores the need to educate all the people including males on menstruation in order to ward off stigma and negative perceptions.

“It is important for women and girls and even boys to know menstruation. Women and girls are selected because they were people with particular vulnerabilities or specific needs” she told TCT.

Upon receiving the hygiene kits, training and mentorship, the women and girls asked CDC and partners to remember them always in their needs. They thanked the donor and said the freely-given kits will help them gain confidence. The women and girls acknowledged that the assistance has responded to their need.

“It has been very difficult…” TCT quoted one beneficiary who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of stigma. “God knows how I have been managing myself,” she added without controlling her emotions.

Some cultural taboos prohibit people to openly express or discuss issues related to Menstrual Hygiene Management in the society.

CDC said that the organization is planning to roll out this initiative to the rest of the refugee communities.

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