Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignity. That includes access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene products and awareness about health as it relates to the female body.
For the millions of women living in extreme poverty, sanitary supplies and education about reproduction are not part of their world. What does this mean? It means that women who are menstruating use mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, or anything they can find as sanitary supplies are not available. It also means they don’t leave the house and miss up to 2 months of school a year.
It turns out this issue is a surprising but instrumental key to social change for women all over the world. The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.
In conjunction with the nonprofit organization, Days for Girls, CHOICE has started educating women in the Chulac region about feminine hygiene and reproduction health. Nurse Vilma, from the CHOICE Guatemala staff, has been trained and can now educate girls in the entire region. In addition to education, they receive a kit that includes a reusable sanitary napkin and a pair of underwear. For many, this is the first time in their life they have owned either.
This work directly ties to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were created in 2000 by world leaders and the United Nations. The goals committed nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and set out a series of eight time-bound targets; one of them being to promote gender equality and empower women.
With access to reusable sanitary supplies and education about reproduction, girls now have the equal access to education, and there is one less barrier to addressing the cycle of poverty.
*some information from Days for Girls International