If you listened to the September 8 CBC “Out in the Open” programme with Piya Chattopadhyay, you heard about the challenges that menstruation poses for women in developing countries and here at home.

In Tanzania, for many women, menstruation is a time of “shame”. Imagine that every time a woman has her period, she secludes herself in the boma for the duration or if she does go out, she is shamed for being”dirty”. In June, Mary, our Community Faciltitator, introduced the women in remote villages surrounding Longido to a menstrual kit which includes panties, panty shields and washable liners. This kit follows the design developed by Days for Girls.

The women were thrilled with the kits and some are already making good use of them. Here are some of their comments:

“To my side, I enjoy the use of that piece of clothes. The materials are so good according to our environment because I can wash them and hang them to dry in the sun. This will help us because we stayed a long time without knowing the way to protect ourselves during that time of menstruation. You can feel free to walk without fear that you’re dirty.” (Nalepo, late 20’s, Ranch Village, translated from Maa).

“The way it seems to be good as it protects our dignity. Before we don’t have anything and I just walk in shame way. When you have your monthly period, everyone can know because our clothes become dirty. We stay at home for 3-4 days without doing our job. So, I will suggest, if it will be possible to make more for everyone please. (Nasaru, early 30’s, Longido, translated from Maa).

Virginia Taylor, TEMBO’s educational director, headed over to Longido in early September with 53 menstrual kits packed in her suitcase. Each kit includes 1 bag, 2 shields, 8 liners, 1 washcloth, 2 panties, 1 ziploc bag and instructions.

Our thanks to the women who donated panties and spent hours sewing shield, bags and liners. TEMBO also acknowledges the support of the Ottawa-Gatineau chapter of Days for Girls for their assistance.

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