Even before COVID-19 lockdowns, some girls and women in Tanzania struggled to manage their periods, resorting to traditional katenge cloth, animal droppings or tree bark instead of sanitary pads.
“One girl told us ‘how can I go and buy sanitary pads when my family cannot buy flour for food?’”, said Just Peoples project leader Lucy Odiwa.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day, May 28, 2020, Just Peoples are working hard to distribute products to girls and women, but urgently need donations to further support locals as the pandemic evolves.
“A girl cannot ask her parents to buy sanitary pads, so sacrifices her own health for the greater needs of the family, suffering in silence,” says Lucy.
The theme of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is It’s Time for Action. Lucy said that more activists need to come on board to find safe ways of helping girls and women handling their periods during the pandemic.
“As we reach out to activists in our area, we have realised that menstrual hygiene management programs that were happening have been locked down,” she says.
“If we can distribute food and have handwashing stations with social distancing measures taken, then we can have centres where girls and women can come to collect the menstrual hygiene products that they require.”
For many families, menstrual hygiene products are not seen as a priority, or women in households don’t have any say in purchasing them. A nationwide lockdown in Bangladesh has been extended until May 30.
“In this lockdown, which has continued for months, families are struggling to buy daily necessities,” said Sharmin Poly, a Just Peoples project leader in Bangladesh.
“There are thousands of girls and women from low-income families, especially from slum and rural areas, who cannot afford sanitary pads.”
Just Peoples are hoping to deliver three months worth of pads to 400 girls and women in Dhaka, the country’s capital and a city of nearly 10 million people. So far they’ve distributed two months’ supply of sanitary pads to 60 girls to get them through the lockdown and school when it resumes, but their mothers still need products.
Just Peoples, a charity founded by Kiwi childhood friends, makes it simple to give directly to grassroots projects tackling poverty around the world. 100% of all money donated to projects goes to a funder’s chosen cause and donations from Australian tax-payers are tax-deductible.