By Phurpa Wangmo
RENEW, a non-profit organization that focuses on women empowerment, and the education ministry launched the Days for Girls kits, which are washable menstrual health kits, at the Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School in Thimphu this week.
The initiative will be piloted for six months after which it will be expanded in other schools. The program is being funded by Days for Girls Australia, an international NGO based in Australia.
Health Minister Dechen Wangmo who was present at the launch said if girls shy away from knowing the nuances of menstrual hygiene and to be more open with the issue as it is a vital aspect of their lives.
Besides Khasadrapchu, Genekha School also received the menstrual kits. And according to RENEW, the two schools were selected as they are located in the rural part of Thimphu.
“The purpose of these kits is to educate our girls on menstrual health and the kits are mainly designed for rural school students, especially girls,” said Tandin Wangmo, the project officer of RENEW.
The menstrual kit worth 900 Ngultrum contains two shields, eight liners, transport bag, a draw string bag, two pairs of under garments, soap and a small towel.
Funded by the Days for Girls (DFG), Australia Limited, the kits are distributed to 106 girls identified from rural parts of the Thimphu – Genekha and Khasadrabchu School.
Interacting with the students, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that we are lucky to be born in a country where girls are respected, where we are given the equal opportunity not only to grow but to thrive and there is no barrier to achieve your dream.
Lyonpo further stated that the lack of proper menstrual health management may lead to greater risks of infections, discomfort, and negative impacts on mental wellbeing and urged the girls to talk about menstruation as it is a natural and healthy part of the life of women and girls.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) is working with RENEW and Days for Girls (DFG), Australia Limited to advocate and educate the young school-going girls on menstrual health and hygiene.
“I am a proud Bhutanese. Our leaders are striving hard in governance to make us stronger. Today our comfort and Hygiene has become a priority. The Dignity Kit for our friends and sisters in itself is an immense contribution in making us stronger and empowered young girls. It indicates a society who has groomed a girl with dignity and respect,” a student representative from khasadrapchu MSS at the launch of the Dignity kits said.
“As you take care of my needs, I can dream higher and above. Little girls with dreams become women with vision,” she said.
Meanwhile, RENEW plans to train women to make menstrual kits in the country if the pilot program goes well.