For most adolescents in the United Staes, menstruation is an annoyance. Basically it is an inconvenience and embarrassment that they endure during their most awkward phase in life.
However, there are millions of girls throughout the world who do not have access to pads or tampons. Due to the lack of sanitation and resources, many girls miss several days of school.
Without access to menstrual supplies and sanitation, girls’ health and educational opportunities are marginalized. Breath of Life strongly believes in the importance of empowering individuals through education, encouragement and opportunity.
We began to research long-term, sustainable options for the young women in the community and discovered DivaCup.
DivaCup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal, collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. The cup offers up to 12 hours of leak-free protection, easy-to-use and is re-useable for up to 12 months.
After further research on the menstrual cup, we decided this could potentially be a great option for young girls in the community. DivaCup agreed to partner with us for a pilot project.
We “kicked off” the pilot project last month through the Teenage Girls Enrichment program. The program included education on their menstrual cycle, hygiene and nutrition, sexually transmitted infections and a discussion on “Respecting and Honoring Our Bodies”.
Through our partnership with DivaCup, we distributed menstrual cups and hygiene care kits to 13 young women. Each teenager also received a bra through Free the Girls, which brought much excitement.
Currently, all of the young women are being monitored by Nurse Timay and Guiline. In July the girls will attend a follow-up lesson, so we can receive input on the use of the menstrual cup. During this lesson we will also address any questions or concerns they may have.
There were many giggles (which was to be expected) throughout the lessons, but overall the program was a huge success! We are excited about the possibly of continuing our partnership with DivaCup.
Through this partnership, we will be able to help provide sanitation, education, resources and confidence to young girls in Dèsarmes, Haiti!