Menstrual Hygiene Day | ActionAid UK

Menstrual Hygiene Day

This Menstrual Hygiene Day, share a better period

Many of us know what it’s like to lend a tampon or a pad to someone - anyone - who needs one. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s your sister, a friend, or a complete stranger in the loo. It’s an unwritten rule that we always help out in an emergency, if we can.

What about a woman living in a refugee camp, who has had to flee her home with nothing? Would you help her out too, if you could?

Around the world, thousands of women and girls live without access to the safe sanitary products they need. 

So this Menstrual Hygiene Day, please help us to end period poverty, and share a better period with someone who needs it

Share a better period

More ways to get involved this Menstrual Hygiene Day

Periods and humanitarian disasters 

Women who have lost everything as a result of humanitarian crises tell us that amongst the essential items they need most are sanitary towels, wipes and soap. Without sanitary towels, women and girls are forced to use improvised methods to manage their periods, including torn pieces of clothing and rags, which can cause painful infections. 

In humanitarian emergencies, ActionAid provides hygiene kits which can include soap, sanitary towels and clean underwear, helping women and girls manage their periods with dignity. 

Refugee women and girls can't afford sanitary towels 

13-year-old Wesal's mother was killed in an airstrike on their home in Syria. Her father and grandmother tried to take Wesal and her sisters to Jordan – but at the border her father was arrested and taken back to Syria. They don't know if he is dead or alive.

Now, Wesal and her three sisters are being brought up by their grandmother, Azziza, in Jordan. Without their mum and dad, the family are struggling to get by. 

Wesal started her period last year when she was 12. Now, Azziza has to face the agonising choice of whether to buy food or sanitary products for her granddaughters when they have their periods. 

Read more about periods in humanitarian disasters

Wesal can't afford to buy sanitary towels when she has her period.

Sharron Lovell/ActionAid

Sanitary towels changing lives in Malawi

In Malawi, ActionAid is training mums in communities to make reusable, low-cost sanitary towels for the poorest girls. These simple sanitary pads are changing lives.

Before, girls who couldn't afford sanitary pads felt unable to go to school because they were teased by boys if their clothes became stained. Now, not only are girls able to stay in school, but their mums are also building long-term businesses by selling their extra products at the market. This provides the mums with opportunities to earn an income and support their families. 

Ruth received a sewing machine and training on how to use it from ActionAid. She now makes cheap, reusable sanitary towels.

Samantha Reinders/ActionAid

Sewing reusable sanitary towels

Mother-of-two Ruth's sewing machine buzzes all day. She's busy making sanitary towels for girls in Namalusa village, Malawi.

ActionAid provided the sewing machine, and training on how to use it, to her and other mums who were struggling to make ends meet. So far, the mums taking part in this project have made 3,000 pads to be distributed to 600 girls. 

“I think the program is good. I’ve benefitted from it, and others are benefitting from it,” she said. 

One of the girls who has received pads came to her to thank her and say that she was doing better at school because of the pads. Ruth said: “I felt good in my heart, because I never expected I’d be able to make such a difference.”

Footnotes

Page updated 12 November 2020