This International Day of the Girl (Oct.11), tackle Period Poverty with Compassion Canada

Have you heard of "Period Poverty"? 

I hadn't! Read on to learn more about the tremendous need girls living in poverty have for feminine hygiene products, and what Compassion Canada has been doing about it.

As per Compassion Canada:

Men working at sewing machines may seem like an unconventional picture—even more so when you realize they are sewing reusable feminine hygiene products! But for several men in Mulatsi, Uganda, this is a regular practice that is strengthening their community, generating income and empowering their daughters.

Period poverty refers to the lack of access to hygiene products for girls living in poverty—something that was an immense struggle for women and girls in Mulatsi.

Sanitary pads cost approximately $1 for a package of seven, a burdensome price for families living in extreme poverty. As a result, women were forced to improvise. “One woman told me she uses newspapers; another, rugs; another, cloth from old blankets; and still another said they cut off part of an old mattress,” says Jacky, the director of the Compassion child development centre at Mulatsi Church of Uganda.

The United Nations reports that globally, stigma, taboos and misinformation surrounding menstruation causes girls to miss educational and occupational opportunities and be more vulnerable to child marriage, domestic violence, STIs, menstrual disorders and human rights abuses.

Community members make reusable sanitary pads together.

Working towards a solution—together

When the staff at Mulatsi Church of Uganda learned of all the struggles women and girls were going through, they were moved to intervene. Initially, they bought and distributed pads to Compassion beneficiaries. However, this was not sustainable and proved expensive.

Then a group of Compassion church partners, of which Mulatsi Church of Uganda is part, applied for funding for menstrual hygiene interventions through Compassion’s Complementary Inventions. With the funds they received, the churches were able to education their communities on the importance of menstrual hygiene—and teach their communities how to make reusable sanitary pads. One set of seven reusable pads costs $1.50 to make and will last an entire year.

The centre staff first learned how to make the reusable pads, and then conducted training for community members—both women and men. They not only trained Compassion beneficiaries and their parents, but also students at three local schools, and other local leaders, who were then able to teach others in the community. All churches in the group received training, and everyone who received training was asked to train others in turn.

Through this intervention, 48 churches are educating 4,800 adolescent girls and boys  in menstrual hygiene, along with their caregivers. 1,440 adolescent girls will be given supplies and trained in making sanitary pads, along with their caregivers.

Read more about this amazing work being done on Compassion Canada's Website:

Even better, For International Day of the Girl,