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June 5, 2017

Celebrating World Health Day in Mfuwe

Mfuwe Community

Author: Simone F.

Thanks to the gender support manager Fwilane from Project Luangwa I had the opportunity to join the annual World Health Day celebration in a local Primary School in Mfuwe.

Kids, teens and adults came together to celebrate the day in the shades of big trees in front of the school. The day’s programme,which was initiated by Project Luangwa, was all about menstrual hygiene, which is a really big issue here in Zambia and in many parts of Africa,especially for teenage girls.

What a lot of people don’t know is that girls who have their menstrual cycle mostly won’t attend school during these days due to a lack of hygiene pads. So they just stay at home. It is a huge problem because girls miss many classes and thus can’t really compete due to the lack of school attendance.

Therefore Menstrual Hygiene Day was initiated to create awareness of these issues and especially for empowering girls and give them a real chance to be successful in school.

Mfuwe Community

Besides raising awareness the celebration was so much fun for everybody! A very special part of this year’s celebration was that even boys from Project Lunangwas boys club supported the performances. Karen, the initiator of Project Luangwa told me, that I might witness something really pioneering, because previously it has been very unusual that boys or men speak up about these issues.

However, as we saw, the boys and girls showed, that it is really not a big deal or something embarrassing to talk about menstrual hygiene.

In their very entertaining play the teenagers demonstrated how upsetting it can be for girls when boys make fun of their menstrual cycle and how unreasonable it is, because it is just natural!

The women from project Luangwa further explained how to use the pads. Not only do the pads have a super nice design with colourful chitenge fabrics, they are also very sustainable, becausethey last for more than two years! In this way the girls cansave quite a lot of money comparing to the price of disposable pads.

Project Luangwa produces up to 250 pads a day in a very efficient way and many of the packages have already been donated by guests of South Luangwa National Park. This has already led to manyschool girls being provided with hygiene pads who have now a real chance of completing school!

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