Awareness, Acceptance & Access to Good Menstrual Hygiene in Zimbabwe
The issues surrounding menstrual health can be circulated around awareness, acceptance and access. It is up to influential change-makers to step up.
Here is a little story about Lisa, a teenager who just started her menstruation.
One morning Lisa at grade 6 with small budding breast, she still didn’t understand, woke up to a blood bath in her handmade cloth sewn together from old pieces of fabric her mother collected and with a touch of by her old kwasa kwasa wrapping cloth.
Moist like was her white cotton pant, with a hole in the middle due to over-usage. Oh, I did not tell you: the pant had been passed on to her by her older brother Nhamo.
They were just siblings, it didn’t matter anywhere.
They lived in a typical Zimbabwean rural setup.
‘I urinated in bed again” she thought. Her mother came into the kitchen hut she was sleeping and she pulled her blanket to cover for her mother not to see.
But it was time for school. Lisa had to get up. Tactfully (in her mind she still thought it was urine)picked herself covered in the blanket and went out: her mother did not check, or even pay attention.
She was not aware of menstruation, though she had come across the word in that science topic, the whole class giggled and were shy to talk or even learn about. She then went behind the kitchen to fold the blanket. She then looked at the rug, and she saw a red stain, looked between her legs and it was the colour red in its brightest.
Did I pee urine, she thought.
Lisa prepared herself to go to school and off she went. She didn’t mind her findings. But the menstrual blood did not stop because she washed. In class, she experienced cramping in her stomach and went in tears to the teacher ( Children are children). Upon walking up to the teacher the classmates noticed a wet patch large enough to cover her butt and attributed it to urine-like she.
They started laughing. She cried even more
The teacher took her outside and gave her a talk: The Menstruation awareness and preparation talk, she never got and sent her home.
Lisa was empowered with knowledge about menstruation, walked home. Upon reaching home she told her mother her transformation into a woman. Her mother quickly prepared homemade cotton pad, from her dead father’s shirt. It would serve the purpose right
She was happy, and life went on well.
Lisa is just an example of how some girls in Zimbabwe experience their first menstruation.They say if I fall, I get up and march again. But really does every girl have to experience this.
“It is part of being a woman ”Now the talk is given when they have already fallen. Let us join hands as Zimbabwean to donating sanitary wear to those who cant afford.
Embarrassing the idea of good menstrual health can demulsify the whole mysterious yet natural process of becoming a woman. The Government of Zimbabwe Statutory Instrument 264 of 208 provides for the suspension of duty on sanitary wear for omen for importation done during the period 01 December 2018 to 30 November 2019. This means there is no customs duty which will be charged on import of sanitary wear.
Changemaker including the Swedish menstruation health and have sponsored a whole campaign just for it.
We all are agents of change. Her in any way you can. Remember, there are those barriers to proper menstrual sanitation which are AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE AND ACCESS. Pick any and support the girl child.
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