Period poverty means lack of funds to buy basic personal hygiene items: sanitary pads, soap, underwear, no access to toilets and running water, and no basic knowledge about menstruation. In Malawi many young girls experience period poverty, therefore they don't go to school during menstruation, which causes dropping out of school and, consequently, the end of education. YORGHAS Foundation aims to help 500 school age girls gain access to menstrual supplies and knowledge on menstrual hygiene.
Over 75% girls in rural schools in Malawi have no knowledge about menstruation and can't afford sanitary pads. They use random materials (e.g. rags, leaves) which cause infections. They don't go to school during period, for a week every month (almost a month in 1 term) what leads to dropping out of school, then to forced premature marriages, unwanted pregnancies and complicated births. In this way, the lack of sanitary pads prevents girls from graduating school, and thus - from better life.
Girls within these rural schools will receive locally made reusable sanitary pads, underwear and soap so that they can manage their periods safely each month, maintain their sexual health and reduce their school absents. Conducting educational self-esteem sessions with leaflets on the menstrual cycle, practices and myths related to hygiene during menstruation will break myths and taboos around period and provide girls with necessary knowledge on female body and reproductive health.
The project will significantly decrease the dropout rate of 500 girls in rural schools through support during the menstrual cycle, will contribute to a better education, and will help them feel more confident and aware of their bodies and health. Supporting small local women-led enterprises to produce the reusable sanitary pads, will stimulate the local economy and empower women. Additionally, by choosing reusable solutions the project will reduce overall plastic footprint.