A lot of adolescent girls in Uganda fear menstruation. They might see their sisters and friends crying when they have their periods and think it will be painful. Or they don’t talk with anyone about it so when it does arrive they think something is wrong with them. They’re teased by boys during their menstruation… boys often think the sign of blood means a girl has been with a man or see their blood as a sign that she’s ready to be with a man. It’s a confusing time!
Thankfully, the coaches at Girl Up Initiative Uganda show girls that menstruation is normal! They show girls how to take care of their bodies and make reusable sanitary pads. It is very empowering for these girls to be able to talk about menstruation with the coaches and other girls. Instead of being a taboo experience filled with dread, it can be – if not celebrated – at least accepted and sometimes, even embraced.
Check out this poem written by Esther, a young girl being featured in our book, “We Have Something To Say: True Stories Written By Adolescent Girls Growing Up In The Slums Of Kampala.”
~ Menstruation ~
How I imagine if you were not there for me
Many girls in Uganda are crying because of you
Missing school because of you, fearing to be open because of you
And how I wish you could tell us the day you will come
Many girls are lacking what to use and even pads during their period.
May you stay longer because we still need you in our lives
Without you our mothers could not produce children,
Marriage and other thing and I really thank God because
He has given me a wonderful period.
Girls, women let us come together to solve this problems
Therefore we say menstruation is needed in our lives
So we be free, menstruation doesn’t kill but help us
And it teaches us how to care for our bodies as girls
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