Community Development Trust Fund of Tanzania (CDTF) in collaboration with Olive Luena Education Trust (OLET) supported menstrual hygiene initiatives among students with disabilities at Mazinyungu Primary School in Kilosa District and Njombe Viziwi Primary and Secondary School in Njombe Town through provision of reusable sanitary pads.
Many young girls tend to skip school, self-medicate and refrain from social interactions during their menstrual periods. They often experience feelings of shame and their relatives and teachers are usually not prepared to respond to them at this critical stage of their biological development. Moreover, there is poor access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products which leads girls and women to use old rags, clothes and other unhygienic materials instead of sanitary pads. There are also taboos and stigmas attached to menstruation in local communities which promote a culture of silence and results in limited information on menstruation and menstrual hygiene. All these issues can and, in fact, do lead to misconceptions, unhygienic practices and increased risk and incidences of infection especially that of the reproductive tract among young girls. Such inadequacies have consequences on the health and dignity of women, in general, and girls, in particular.
To safeguard the health and dignity of girls, CDTF has joined the struggle to ensure that every girl in Tanzania can thrive and be comfortable during her menstrual period. CDTF in collaboration with Olive Luena Trust availed250 pieces of reusable sanitary pads to 125 girls at Mazinyungu Primary School and Njombe Viziwi school in Njombe Town.
During the handing over of pads event to Mazinyungu Primary School, the head teacher Mr. Kajika Gallan acknowledged that CDTF had supported the students, especially those with various disabilities at the school, since 2018. The support from CDTF included health insurance to pupils and water pump all aiming at improving the teaching-and-learning environment. Madam Lucy Joseph, a matron & teacher mentioned important practices during the menstrual period they train girls as; regular change of pad, proper cleaning of the reusable pad, constant use of clean underwear, and keeping their sexual part clean.