Dealing with embarrassment

October 30th, 2014

In many Asian countries there is still a sense of shame associated with the menstruation cycle.  However, during my recent trip to Bangladesh I was fortunate enough to visit Practical Action’s Sanitation Approach and Sanitary Napkins for Adolescent Girls Project, which has proved to be very successful in helping young girls manage their menstruation cycle without being shy or embarrassed.

6 Sept Sanimart 4The project is run by the Governor Mrs Selina and is situated in the grounds of her home in Sirajgani, in a small room. Practical Action, Bangladesh provided the initial material support, training on making napkins, bookkeeping and marketing skills and there are now 7 Sanimarts operating independently in Bangladesh.

70 girls were originally involved in the project but 15 left to go on to higher education, get married or work for other NGOs.

On arriving at the centre I was met by four very excited young girls aged between 13 and 19 who were eager for to talk with us and to demonstrate to us how they produce the napkins.

It was a pleasure watching how they work together as a team carefully making the napkins.  All of the girls had to drop out of school due to family financial problems but they felt proud to be working in this small centre.

They make up to 200 low-cost, hygienic sanitary towels per day and sell them to women in communities, hospitals, schools, and colleges. The centre encourages girls who are too shy to ask for napkins to visit the shop themselves instead of visiting markets where they are too expensive and sometimes they are unable to afford them.

6 Sept Sanimart 5The centre helps the girls learn new skills and earn an income.  One of the girls talked to us about why she liked working there, her response was:

  • She can provide money to help support her family
  • She is learning a trade
  • Working with friends
  • Flexible and shorter working hours

Meeting these girls, seeing them laugh and smile and wanting to take photos of us before we left made the visit so memorable.

2 responses to “Dealing with embarrassment”

  1. Lesley Dawson Says:

    What an important project to support. It will make the lives of young women easy at those times sof the month when needed.

  2. Lesley Dawson Says:

    In my previous message, I should have said this project will make the lives of young women easier. I know that their lives are not easy at all

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