You can help end period poverty with a monthly gift
Fifteen-year-old Sylvia used to miss up to five days of school every month, just because she had her period.
In her community in Chiradzulu, Malawi, cultural myths and taboos about periods persist, meaning she is often made to feel ashamed about her period. Meanwhile, many girls don’t have access to safe, hygienic sanitary products, or private spaces in which to use them.
Without access to sanitary products, women and girls in Malawi commonly use a bulky strip of cloth, a ‘nyanda’, to manage their periods, which is uncomfortable and can leak. It can even cause infection, posing a serious health risk.
“When I wore the nyanda, I often stained my clothes and boys could see the cloth under my clothes and they would laugh at me,” she said.
Because of the obstacles they face managing their periods, girls often miss multiple days of school every month in Sylvia’s community - or even drop out of school altogether.
Missing out on an education can have a devastating impact on a girl’s life. It means she is more vulnerable to violence and abuse, more likely to be forced into child marriage and more likely to get pregnant at a young age.
Missing school because we’re on our periods affects our studies,” Sylvia said. “The girls who miss 8 days of classes get worse grades.”
But thanks to an ActionAid project in her community, a lot has changed for Sylvia. The project has helped local women learn how to make safe, re-usable sanitary pads, and has distributed them for free to girls at school.
The pads project has made a huge difference to Sylvia and other girls in her community. Now, they can keep going to school during their periods, and no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed to stand up in class.
No girl should be held back because of period poverty.
Your donation of £7 a month could help us reach more girls like Sylvia with the support they need to manage their periods with dignity.
ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty.
Our dedicated local staff are ending violence against women and girls and helping change lives, for good. We won’t stop until women and girls are out of danger, out of poverty and on track to create the future they want.
We operate in rural and urban communities across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
We’re committed to ending the cycle of violence in communities around the world, enabling women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women’s and girls’ rights during humanitarian crises.