Menstruation is an issue of human rights and dignity. Nevertheless, considerable barriers curtailing the equal and safe access to hygiene and education for women and girls across the world persist to this day, among which is the issue of Menstrual Hygiene Insecurity (MHI) according to graduatewomen.org. The International Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year globally on the 28th day of May.
“I bleed twelve weeks a year, so I know a thing or two about bloodstains” – (www.news18.com)
Many international institutions and local agencies harness efforts in ensuring that taboos and myths about menstruation are broken in our societies. For instance; USAID’s work in the menstrual hygiene field includes developing design standards for female-friendly facilities, creating educational resources, promoting the availability of Menstrual Hygiene Management – MHM related supplies, and de-stigmatizing menstruation.
According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), over 30,000 refugees will be hosted by the Government of Canada in the year 2020 in addition to the 28,100 refugees in 2019. These numbers translate in to more demand on the menstrual hygiene management products and services meant to be shared among citizens and refugees. Many female refugees seeking for asylum in Canada find a lot of challenges in accessing and utilizing MHM products and services. This is attributed to the financial restrictions, types of menstrual products available on market and lack of information on use of these products intertwined by the different social norms and stigma from their home countries.
At The African Centre for Refugees in Ontario we work closely together with communities and beneficiaries through identifying newcomers both in and out of the shelter system to integrate them within our programs. We also organize female chat-ups which are spearheaded by social workers to guide them through menstrual hygiene and management and breaking barriers to utilizing these products and services.
Image source; Medical News Today.