Youths working to raise menstrual hygiene awareness

Youths working to raise menstrual hygiene awareness

LIFE Bangladesh, a humanitarian nonprofit organisation dedicated to bringing positive change to society, has begun its journey with Project Mo which aims to ensure menstrual hygiene. 

The organisation is led by seven individuals who aim to help in reaching the United Nations-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Mehrab Sakib Zaman, the founder of LIFE Bangladesh, reiterated the issue that taking care of menstrual hygiene remains neglected as it is labelled as a taboo subject. 

“As a result, misconceptions about periods still prevail in society and women who face physical issues cannot ask for help. So we are trying to spread awareness in order to change negative social norms surrounding menstrual health."

The first phase of the project focused on educating working-class men in order to sensitise them so that they can positively start supporting the women in their families and workplaces. 

The second phase of Project Mo was held at Korail Ansar Camp field on June 4, 2022. It was launched primarily to break the stigma around menstruation. 

"In phase two, we tried to reach marginalised women and girls living in slum areas," informed Saif Uz Zaman, Chief Operations Officer of LIFE Bangladesh. He also mentioned that they have plans to arrange nine more training sessions for this specific location before moving on to the next.

A few days prior to the event, members of the organisation went to the nearest Korail slum areas, where nearly five lakh people reside, to hand out invitation flyers. Approximately 130 female slum residents across all age groups attended the session. 

From the session, members of LIFE Bangladesh found out that many women in these marginalised communities still use old cloth rags during their periods — not knowing the increased risks of infection due to unsafe menstrual management. 

And those who use sanitary napkins are unaware of how often they need to change their pads and why they need to do so. 

What is further concerning is that some of them are not familiar with the abnormality that is associated with prolonged menstrual bleeding and at the same time missing periods for three months straight. 

"It kind of portrays a more progressive society that is ready for effective change when it comes to menstruation and hygiene," remarked Zobayra Hossain and Samira Mehnaz, trainers of LIFE Bangladesh. 

The organisation hopes to expand their operations from urban to suburban and rural areas gradually. They also plan on setting up sanitary napkin vending machines in slum areas in the future to make this hygiene item affordable and available to all marginalised women and girls.

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