Sanitary cups change refugee girls’ menstrual experience

Nighty Ayot shows off the menstrual cup she received from LWF


Before Nighty Ayot, was select­ed as one of the beneficiaries of menstrual kits, which LWF distributed at her school and the sur­rounding community, the menstrua­tion period was a nightmare to her. The 24-year-old South Sudan refugee living in Northern Uganda's Palabek Settlement in Lamwo district says be­fore they got the kits, maintaining self-hygiene during her periods was a big challenge. However, menstrual kits have changed all that. The kits come with two menstrual cups, two knickers and a bar of soap.

“The LWF team mobi­lised 20 other girls in my neighbourhood and also trained us in how to use the menstrual cup, “ she applauds the organisation for ensuring that refugees like her live a dignified life despite their status."On many occasions, I would wash my only knicker and wait for it to dry before going to school, and in many cases, it did not dry properly," Ayot recounts. Menstrual hygiene management has been a great challenge among the ref­ugees who face difficulties getting re­sources to meet their needs, including school absenteeism and the eventual dropout that hamper efforts to break the poverty cycle.Ayot and her fami­ly fled South Sudan in April 2017 due to tribal conflicts and the fighting be­tween rebel groups and the govern­ment.“When we arrived in Uganda, we realised life as a refugee was not easy,” she narrates.

Although the government and hu­manitarian organisations provide basic needs like plots of land to grow food for the dis­placed people, the people of concern have other needs like sanitary towels. This has forced many of them, especially women and girls, to fall vic­tim to sexual exploitation.It is upon this back­ground that LWF with support from the Global Affairs Canada through the Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) improves the utilization of sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) servic­es among the South Sudanese refugees and host community members, especially women. The interventions is conducted under the Emergen­cy Protection, SRHR, and Livelihoods for South Sudanese Refugees and Host Communities in Lamwo district.

"The sanitary kit makes me feel more comforta­ble that I forget that I am on my periods," Ayot notes. Ayot now teaches her peers and the sur­rounding community to use the kits and manage their menstruation periods.With more kits, Ayot says, more girls will be saved from the embar­rassment they face during their menstruation pe­riods if they do not have sanitary materials.