Educating the Girl Child
The topics of puberty, menstruation, and sexual health are often treated as taboo topics in Burundi, especially in rural areas of the country. We seek to change that.
The first time that many girls come to know anything about menstrual cycles is when they experience their periods. As a result, fear and confusion is often their first experience of that natural change in their bodies.
Many girls in Burundi never get the information they need about effective personal care and sexual and reproductive health, and suffer harmful consequences and unnecessary shame as a result.
As our first step in helping to improve this situation, our organization has targeted schools in rural areas. We have tailored our curriculum to the needs of two different groups of girls:
- 10 to 13 years - We aim to capture the young girls at the very early stage so that we educate and prepare them before they have entered that stage of their life.
- 14 to 18 years – this is a group of girls who are already in that cycle. The education is based on how to take care of their bodies and personal hygiene needs going forward.
Supplying the Needs of the Girl Child
When feasible, we distribute disposable sanitary napkins to girls in rural schools. Given the environmental benefits of reusable sanitary products, we are also actively exploring the possibility of distributing washable pads, as well.
However, in villages where poverty is the norm, we know it is difficult to fully meet the menstrual hygiene needs of girls with commercially-product products. To address those needs, Uplifting the Girl Child also plans to roll out a program, in which it will instruct users on how to make their own safe and effective reusable pads at a low cost that every girl and her sisters will be able to afford.