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Menstruation

A girl in school uniform smiling
In schools across Rwanda, we’ve set up youth clubs so girls like Florence can learn vital life skills – including information about their sexual health and reproductive rights.

‘Girls often have to go to school with no pads’

In the small community where Florence, 17, lives in Rwanda, periods are a taboo subject. But as part of the youth club at her school she’s been learning about her sexual health and reproductive rights.

“I didn’t know anything about my body and how it develops before I joined the youth club,” she says. “I have learnt a lot now, about periods and health issues and how to look after myself.

“Girls often have to go to school with no pads during their periods and feel very ashamed. Some girls even quit school because of this. I wish that each girl and boy could learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Nurankis and Nur Nahar in Bangladesh
Nur Nahar, right, explains the practices that happen when a girl first gets her period. “We cannot talk to men. If a male relative comes to visit, the family tells him I am not home and I have to hide,” she says.

‘When we first arrived, they didn’t have anything’

For girls growing up in crisis, getting your period can make already challenging conditions even harder.

Nurankis and Nur Nahar are both living in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, having fled the violence in Myanmar. As well as the stigmas surrounding periods in their community, they also face a constant shortage of pads or clean cloths.

That’s why our teams have been distributing dignity kits, including washable cloths which can be reused and won’t clog the rudimentary toilets in the camps.

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BREAKING THE BARRIERS IN THE UK

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1 in 10girls in the UK are unable to afford period products

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49% of UK girlshave missed an entire day of school because of their period

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Almost 70%of UK girls aren’t allowed to go to the toilet during school lesson times

Jessica, 17, from the UK

A CULTURE OF SHAME AND SILENCE

“I do feel like there’s a stigma around the topic of periods. If people spoke about periods more without the stigma, it could help a lot of people.” - Jess, 17, UK

Our first-of-its-kind report, Break the Barriers, explores UK girls’ experiences of having their period. It reveals a culture of shame and silence has turned periods into a hidden public health issue – putting girls' physical, sexual and mental health at risk.

TRANSFORMING UK GIRLS’ EXPERIENCES

Based on the findings from Break the Barriers, we’ve created a Menstrual Manifesto  – the six things we all need to make happen to transform girls' experiences of their periods.

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OUR PERIOD EMOJI IS ON ITS WAY!

We’re celebrating the amazing news that – thanks to your incredible support – our blood drop emoji design, developed in partnership with NHS Blood, is now appearing on phones everywhere!

That means people will be able to talk about periods using one of the fastest growing global languages, helping to break down the shame and stigma still associated with getting your period around the world.

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